TIME Congress

House Republicans to Sue Obama

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
Speaker of the House John Boehner speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill, in Washington, on June 19, 2014 Kevin Dietsch—UPI/Landov

Objections to the Administration's executive actions

The House of Representatives will sue President Barack Obama for not “faithfully executing” the law, Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday, though he declined to say which of Obama’s actions the House will challenge in court.

“What we’ve seen certainly over the last five years is an effort to erode the power of the legislative branch,” Boehner said. “I believe the President is not faithfully executing the laws of the country and on behalf of the institution and our constitution, standing up and fighting for this is in the best long-term interest of the Congress.”

While Boehner has yet to announce the details of the forthcoming lawsuit, House Republicans have strongly opposed numerous unilateral decisions made by the Obama Administration, including halting deportations of immigrants who were brought to the country as children, postponing provisions of the Affordable Care Act and raising the minimum wage for federal contractors. In a letter to House members Wednesday, Boehner said he intends to bring legislation to the floor in July to “compel” Obama to follow his oath of office

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest didn’t say whether Obama and Boehner had discussed the lawsuit when the Speaker was at the White House Tuesday, and he criticized House Republicans for taking their opposition of the President into “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,” Earnest said. “This lawsuit is certainly not something that is going to consume the attention of the White House.”

Boehner could summon the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to decide on whether or not to sue the President on behalf of the House, according to Roll Call, which first reported on the lawsuit. The panel consists of the top three House Republican leaders, including the Speaker, and the top two Democratic leaders. The group acts on a majority vote. Boehner last convened the panel in 2011 when the White House said it would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that the Republicans wasted $2.3 million in taxpayer money defending the law.

“I make of it as subterfuge,” Pelosi said of the new House Republican plan to sue Obama. “As I’ve said they are doing nothing here and so they have to give some aura of activity.

“He hasn’t come anywhere near what Republican presidents have done on executive orders,” Pelosi added.

“Not only does the President regularly ignore the law, he brags about it,” Boehner said. “And he brags about his willingness to change it unilaterally. First the Administration makes the wrong decisions. Then it won’t give the American people the straight answers. Instead it’s arrogance and incompetence right down the line. I think Americans deserve better. And the House will continue to listen to the American people and make their priorities our priorities.”

-Additional reporting by Zeke J Miller

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