June 24th, 2014
07:52 PM ET
8 years ago

Boehner plans lawsuit against Obama over executive orders

Updated 3:15 p.m. ET, 6/25/14

Washington (CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday told reporters that he plans to sue President Barack Obama over his use of executive action.

"I am," the Speaker said when asked if he was planning to initiate a lawsuit.

"You know the constitution makes it clear that the president’s job is to faithfully execute the laws and in my view the President has not faithfully executed the laws," Boehner added at a news conference on Capitol Hill.

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Boehner announced later Wednesday that in July he would bring a bill to the House floor authorizing a Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to file the lawsuit against the President. He last convened the group in 2011 when the White House said it would no longer defend the anti same-sex marriage law, the Defense of Marriage Act.

The group is made up of the top three House GOP leaders and the top two Democratic leaders.

In a memo to House members announcing next month's vote, Boehner indicated the legal action would cover a number of issues but did not cite specific cases of executive overreach.

"On matters ranging from health care and energy to foreign policy and education, President Obama has repeatedly run an end-around on the American people and their elected legislators, straining the boundaries of the solemn oath he took on Inauguration Day,' the memo said.

The Speaker denied that the move was about energizing Republicans ahead the midterm elections.

"This is about defending the institution in which we serve. If you look back over the past 235 years of our history there's been movement between the inherent powers of the executive branch vs the inherent powers of the legislative branch and what we've seen clearly over the past 5 years is an effort to erode the power of the legislative branch," the Speaker said in response to a question from CNN.

Republicans argue that the President is breaching his constitutional power by side-stepping the legislative process. Obama has used executive actions as a way to bypass a deeply divided Congress, avoiding inaction on issues the White House has made hallmarks of the President's second term agenda.

So far, the Republican-controlled House has passed two bills aimed at curbing executive orders by the President, neither of which have gone anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The White House responded Wednesday to Boehner's plans to bring a lawsuit against the President, pointing the blame at the GOP for uncompromising opposition to Obama's policies.

"For a long time we have seen Republicans block progress in Congress, a range of bills that would promote economic strength but in this case it seems that Republicans have shifted their opposition into a higher gear," spokesman Josh Earnest said at the White House press briefing.

"Frankly, it's a gear I didn't know previously existed.'

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi Wednesday called the lawsuit "a subterfuge" and said Republicans in Congress are "doing nothing" and "they have to give some aura of activity."

Pelosi said the House GOP effort to challenge the Defense of Marriage Act in court wasted $2.3 million in taxpayer money, and said "here we go again."

Obama has used his executive authority to push through a number of issues. Most recently, he directed the Department of Labor to extend family leave to same-sex couples. Previously, he raised the minimum wage for federal contractors and halt deportations for many children in the United States illegally.

Rank and file House Republicans have been pushing for months for top GOP leaders to file a lawsuit.

Conservative Republicans have long complained that the President has overstepped his authority – citing the series of changes that the Obama has made on his own to tweak the implementation of Obamacare.

Congressional Republicans, fueled by anger from their grassroots supporters, also argued it was time to explore legal action when the President began saying in January that he had a “pen and a phone” and would take action on key priorities if Congress failed to move legislation.

One avenue Boehner could take is to convene a Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group - something he did in 2011 when the White House said it would no longer defend the anti same-sex marriage law, the Defense of Marriage Act.

Since there is only a day and a half left before Congress heads out for a week long recess, the lawsuit is not expected to be filed until next month. The lawmakers who make up the group – the top three House GOP leaders and the top two Democratic leaders – will have to meet and vote – and – that isn’t expected to happen until after Congress gets back from 4th of July break.

Boehner just so happened to be with the President on Tuesday, along with Vice President Joe Biden, at the White House to meet with members of the 2013 U.S. and International Presidents Cup teams. And the mood didn't seem to be too tense between the House leader and the commander-in-chief, given reports of Boehner's possible lawsuit.

Obama joked: "I'm joined by two of my favorite golf partners, the Vice President of the United States Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner."

Commissioner Tim Finchem jokingly said that he's been keeping track of who criticizes the President about his golf game, and Boehner was not among his critics.

"The only thing that he doesn't criticize me about," the President added, to laughs.

CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.

soundoff (838 Responses)
  1. wardenhallis

    Obama's use of executive orders is dead last f ANY President in modern times. Are Americans REALLY ignorant enough not to know that?

    June 25, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. thinchliff

    "The Speaker denied that the move was about energizing Republicans ahead the midterm elections."
    Who is a bigger liar, fellow Americans?

    June 25, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. Simplefaith

    Doesn't Boehner realize he looks ridiculous. Please don't make him Speaker of the House in 2016. Republicans choose someone else please. I am an Independent voter. I vote for the candidate that I like to be in the White House. There are many many voters out there that vote either way. Right now the Republicans have no outstanding candidates that would out shine Hillary Clinton. If General Powell were to run, I would vote for him.

    June 25, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Jonah

    Crane Kick
    Obama needs to be impeached. This man is unfit for office.


    If we were impeaching presidents for being unfit for office, we should have impeached Bush right after the debacle of the invasion of Iraq, and tried him for being a war criminal.

    June 25, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. Scott in Michigan

    Typical CNN. Don't cover stories that hurt the administration (IRS emails for example) but do cover stories of their choosing. Ever notice how the "Sound-Off" board is really short on Clinton stories and turned off before too many comments, but on stories about the GOP it is 30+ pages? What a coincidence. Not. Just typical of the Clinton News Network.

    June 25, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. Pete

    The number of orders is not the point. The point is that there is a reason why there is a legislature and an executive. His pen is not to sidestep the legislative process, which Obama has done over and over. Most recently he released terrorists from Gitmo.

    June 25, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. Lone wolf

    The do nothing GOP congress is at it again. These losers will not quit. Instead of doing peoples work, they are stuck on stupid. The hypocrisy of the right grows daily!

    June 25, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  8. A E

    While I disagree with several of the executive orders issued, the GOP only has themselves to blame. Theyve acted like children, stomping their feet and sticking their fingers in their ears and whining "NO NO NO" over and over again. They're still mad that their cult member lost to a black guy because hes an idiot when it comes to public speaking. If they learned to compromise, both they and the democrats would have achieved far more of their goals, but instead theyve taken the stance that everything has to be their way or not at all.

    June 25, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  9. Namebob

    i don't think we should elect any person for president that has'nt served in our armed forces

    June 25, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. Tom

    These same conservative Republicans had no problem when the executive orders were coming from a Republican president. So you'll have to excuse me, but this is hollow and disingenuous.

    June 25, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. Jeff

    John B. is absolutely the most incompetent liar in the Western hemisphere. Would you please stuff a rag in his mouth until after the 2014 elections, preferably place him under house arrest at the same time so Mr Orange tan will not disgrace either the radio waves, or the print or other forms of mass media. Then you can start on all the rest of the members of Congress as they are all cut from the same cloth.

    June 25, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. ireuel

    The content of the posts here, tells me exactly how this man ended up President. A man who had zero experience running anything. Oh and yes we are all in deep, real deep. So keep repeating the lies, then in November you can go back to blaming everything on the Republicans for screwing up what is already screwed up by people on both sides for decades. Do you know why President Clinton is so Popular? He work with who ever was in Washington at the time. It sure wasn't for his behavior in the oval office or lying while under oath. Even after all of that he worked together with members of BOTH parties and had a decent finish. After 911 I really thought we were coming together, but Noooo it lasted about a month and the partisanship kicked back in for What? Political Power. Term limits would be the only answer. By the way Democrats here, we are screwed and it isn't just the Republicans destroying this country. Why do people of both parties find different ways of counting things? Nice Unemployment is 6.2 percent? really how is that possible when we have the smallest percent of actual workers employed in history. Deficits? Guess what it ain't 18 trillion. Guess again. But you all just keep slinging numbers that your party says out of context and calling them real. Oh guess what terrorist don't care what party you lie for. They hate us all and have long before America's first President.

    June 25, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. Charles

    So let me get this straight the GOP can hold the country hostage by sitting on bills that can help people and refuse to do anything productive. But I don't recall Dems doing anything like this when Bush was in office. From the time Obama was elected the focus was to make him an 1 term POTUS since that didn't work now they want to shut down the Gov. and do anything to spite him. All they are doing is making the people see thier actions for what is really is and ensure the Dems when the WH again.

    June 25, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. Dr. Jennifer Melfi

    I will now post the courteous version in case my uncourteous version was censored:

    Let's just get rid of the two-party system. It is the root of all the problems in America. Look at the division. People do not just fall into one camp or another.

    June 25, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Lone wolf

    Another out right lie by the right in hopes of firing up their angry, hate filled followers.

    June 25, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. jrm03063

    Executive Orders by GW Bush – 291; Executive Orders by Obama (thru 20 Mar 2014) – 175. Another GOP narrative that relies on folks who DO NOT examine the facts.

    June 25, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. verumestverum

    Funny...I thought Liberals thought it was good to let the courts sort out issues...or is that only when they are going AGAINST the clear will of the people?

    June 25, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. rs

    How about we impeach Mr. Boehner for failing do to ANYTHING?

    June 25, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. Sensei

    Boehner is easily the worst speaker in US history.

    June 25, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. SWC

    I agree with jhag39. That is the bottom issue. Uner abusive uses of executive orders, U.S. is no longer a democratic country. The intended lawsuit is justified.

    June 25, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  21. RocketJSquirrel

    Another opportunity to see Boehner cry when the Supreme Court swats him down.

    June 25, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  22. michaelbmajor

    Great. More wasted taxpayer dollars that could go to upgrading schools and infrastructure. Spend, spend, spend for nothing, nothing, nothing. That's all the GOP ever does.

    June 25, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  23. BK23

    Well, now no one can say Boehner hasn't done anything for 6 years.

    June 25, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Crane Kick says:
    June 25, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm
    I vote Democrat because I am against working and white people!

    To all those that claim race has nothing to do with this please read the above comment from one of your klan.

    Good lord people, the man came out of a white woman and was raised by her and his white grandparents. Why on earth would you say he hates whites??? And where is Fair, tom I, smith and the rest of them that claim race is a non-issue? Never mind, they'll be silent as usual.

    June 25, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. John Lamboy

    This is what is wrong in Washington the hypocrites cannot look at themselves when Bush has 291 and Barack has 168.. This lawsuit will fall flat on his face where it should.... OMG what is wrong with these people. Govern for God's sake that is why you are there... Not for cheap shots and political games.

    June 25, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
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