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Boehner plans to sue Obama over executive authority

  • McClatchy Washington Bureau
  • Published Wednesday, June 25, 2014, at 1:52 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, June 25, 2014, at 3:08 p.m.

House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday that he plans to sue President Barack Obama over what he perceives as presidential overreach of executive authority.

‘You know, the Constitution makes it clear that a president’s job is to faithfully execute the laws,’ Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters. ‘And in my view the president has not faithfully executed the laws.’

Boehner added: ‘We have a system of government outlined in our Constitution with the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch…and when there’s a conflict, it is, in my view, our responsibility to stand up for this institution in which we serve.’

Congressional Republicans have bristled over Obama’s use of executive orders and actions over the years that have delayed enactment of some provisions of the Affordable Care Act, raised the minimum wage for federal contractors, expanded gay rights, and halted the deportation of some illegal immigrants living in the United States.

But Boehner didn’t say which action he attended to challenge. In a memo to House colleagues, Boehner wrote that ‘On one matter after another during his presidency, President Obama has circumvented the Congress through executive action, creating his own laws and excusing himself from executing statutes he is sworn to enforce - at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the American people to stop him.’

‘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,’ Boehner wrote.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama would prefer to work with Congress, but that Republicans have continually blocked him.

“In this case, it seems that Republicans have shifted their opposition into a higher gear,” Earnest said of the threatened lawsuit. “Frankly, it's a gear that I didn't know previously existed. The fact that they are considering a taxpayer funded lawsuit against the president of the United States for doing his job, I think is the kind of step that most Americans wouldn't support.”

Boehner insisted that a lawsuit would not be a prelude to trying to impeach Obama.

‘This is -- this is not about impeachment,’ Boehner said. ‘This is about his faithfully executing the laws of our country.’

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Boehner’s potential lawsuit ‘subterfuge.’

‘As I said, they’re doing nothing here so they have to give some aura of activity,’ she said. ‘So in any event, there really needs to be an adult in that room of the Republican caucus. I hope the speaker is that adult. I have great respect for the speaker.’

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee turned the lawsuit into a fundraising pitch, accusing Republicans of using “every last dirty trick to throw a wrench in the spokes of progress. They shut down the government. They’re blocking everything President Obama proposes. And now this.”

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