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Boehner Confirms He’ll Sue Obama Over Executive Actions (Video) (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated, 2:57 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio confirmed Wednesday that he will initiate a lawsuit on behalf of the House against President Barack Obama over the administration’s use of executive actions.  

Boehner, saying he believes the president is ignoring laws passed by Congress, cast the move toward a lawsuit, which was first reported by Roll Call , as a continuation of the age-old struggle over the balance of powers among the three branches of government.  

“This is about defending the institution in which we serve,” Boehner told reporters. “What we’ve seen clearly over the last five years is an effort to erode the power of the legislative branch. I believe the president is not faithfully executing the laws of our country, and behalf of the institution and our constitution, standing up and fighting for this is in the best long-term interest of the Congress.”  

Boehner declined to say what specific executive action or actions he will challenge. He also noted that he is not interested in pursuing articles of impeachment against the president.  

In a letter to House members Wednesday afternoon , Boehner noted that next month he will bring a resolution to the House floor that would authorize the lawsuit. He said he will do so in consultation with the House general counsel and the the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which would then vote on whether to proceed toward a lawsuit. The group is made up of the speaker, the majority leader, the majority whip, the minority leader and the minority whip.  

“I believe the House must act as an institution to defend the constitutional principles at stake and to protect our system of government and our economy from continued executive abuse,” Boehner wrote. “The president has an obligation to faithfully execute the laws of our country. When this legislation is introduced in the coming weeks, I ask that you review it and join me in supporting it when it goes before the House.”  

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., indicated that she would most likely vote against a legal challenge to Obama’s powers, noting that she believes in some cases the president could have gone further in his use of executive actions. She said the lawsuit is nothing more than a “subterfuge” to distract the public from a do-nothing Congress, particularly inaction on an immigration rewrite. “They’re doing nothing here and they have to give some aura of activity,” she told reporters. “Not only have they not passed an immigration bill, they have used the president’s actions to protect some vulnerable parties as a basis to sue the president.”  

The White House called the proposed House lawsuit a waste of resources.  

“They are considering a taxpayer-funded lawsuit against the president of the United States for doing his job,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.  


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