House Speaker John Boehner confirmed Wednesday he plans to file a lawsuit against President Barack Obama in the coming days, in a bold attempt to challenge the administration’s heavy use of executive actions to further its agenda.
Boehner sent a memo to the House Republican conference on Wednesday informing of his plans to file legislation in July that would allow the House of Representatives to file suit to compel Obama to “faithfully execute the laws of our country.”
“Everywhere I go in America outside of Washington, D.C., I’m asked: when will the House stand up on behalf of the people to stop the encroachment of executive power under President Obama? We elected a president, Americans note; we didn’t elect a monarch or king,” Boehner wrote in the memo.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest dismissed the potential lawsuit on Wednesday, telling reporters it was a step “most Americans wouldn’t support” while emphasising legal costs would come from taxpayer funds.
“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.
Boehner did not announce which executive actions he would target as part of the lawsuit. Obama, however, has given House Republicans plenty of potential material. He has made 2014 a self-proclaimed “year of action,” issuing executive orders on everything from the minimum wage to federal pay discrimination. Perhaps the most controversial administrative-only move this year came in the form of newly announced regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency on carbon emissions.
Republicans have also roundly criticised Obama for taking administrative action to delay parts of the Affordable Care Act, most notably the so-called employer mandate. In 2012, he also took action to stem the tide of deportations of undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children, a policy for which he has taken heat in light of the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Boehner hinted in the letter he plans to summon the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to carry out the legal action. The BLAG is controlled by the top three Republicans — the Speaker, Majority Leader, and Majority Whip — along with the Democratic House Minority Leader and Minority Whip. The last time the panel was convened came in 2011, when the Obama administration said it would no longer defend the federal Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.
“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 in the memo to colleagues. “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.”
The full memo is below:
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