By Derek Wallbank on June 25, 2014
House Speaker John Boehner said the chamber will sue President Barack Obama’s administration over what he called a pattern of ignoring parts of federal laws the president doesn’t like.
“The president is not faithfully executing the laws of our country,” Boehner told reporters today. “On behalf of the institution, and our Constitution, standing up and fighting for this is in the best long-term interest of the Congress.”
Boehner said Obama takes unilateral actions in areas such as immigration. Republicans also have objected to administration waivers on laws including health care and education.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest dismissed Boehner’s plan, saying it amounts to “a taxpayer-funded lawsuit against the president of the United States for doing his job.”
Earnest said Obama will continue to take action where he has authority because Republicans in the House have repeatedly refused to take up legislation on matters such as immigration.
The administration in late 2013 exempted from penalties people whose health-care plans were canceled because they didn’t meet Obamacare rules to carry medical insurance.
The administration has also eased rules on deportations, didn’t aggressively enforce some laws against marijuana possession and gave states waivers from education achievement penalties if they adopted changes that met with the Education Department’s approval.
Boehner wrote in a memo to House members today that he’ll bring up legislation in July that would authorize the House to file suit. He cited health care, energy, foreign policy and education waivers Boehner said are “straining the boundaries of the solemn oath” Obama took in his inauguration.
“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?” Boehner wrote. “We elected a president, Americans note; we didn’t elect a monarch or king.”
The House of Representatives can sue for enforcement of laws, though individual members can’t. Republicans have majority control of the House and earlier this year passed legislation that would affirm Congress’s right to sue and speed consideration of such lawsuits.
The White House threatened to veto the bill, H.R. 4138, and it has stalled in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Boehner, an Ohio Republican, has repeatedly said the White House is the reason Republicans have refused to take up immigration legislation, saying they can’t trust Obama to enforce whatever law might be enacted.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California today said efforts to sue the president are a “subterfuge” meant to distract from Republicans’ inaction on other topics including immigration.
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