Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote an op-ed for CNN on Sunday to justify his proposed lawsuit against President Barack Obama for his use of executive power.
The op-ed offers some insight into Boehner’s reasoning for the suit which, up until now, has been largely vague. He mostly pins the lawsuit to Obama’s failure to “faithfully execute the laws,” and upsetting the balance of governmental powers by using executive power to pass legislation over the head of Congress.
Executive power is the president’s constitutional power to issue executive orders, which carry the authority of law but do not have to be approved by Congress. President Obama has issued 175 executive orders to date. He signed fewer in his first term than George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan did in their first terms.
Boehner says he will introduce legislation in the House later this month that would allow it to sue President Obama.
“Over the past five years, the president has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action, changing and creating his own laws, and excusing himself from enforcing statutes he is sworn to uphold -- at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the American people to stop him,” Boehner said.
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President Obama called the lawsuit a “stunt” two weeks ago and responded with “so sue me.”
He argues his use of executive orders is because Congress has failed to take action on key issues like health care and immigration reform. Both he and Boehner accuse each other’s party of blocking legislation with party politics. Boehner specifically blames Obama and “Washington Democrats” for blocking Republican economic legislation in the House.
“Washington taxes and regulations always make it harder for private sector employers to meet payrolls, invest in new initiatives and create jobs -- but how can those employers plan, invest and grow when the laws are changing on the president's whim at any moment?” Boehner asked in the op-ed piece.
He also criticized Democrats for blocking Republican-led legislation in the Senate to curb executive power. Both agree the Democrat-Republican standoff in Washington is “frustrating.”
The op-ed doesn’t explain how President Obama’s use of executive power violates the Constitution. In the op-ed, Bohener warns readers Congress had to act to stop Obama “before it’s too late,” and said in a Congressional memo in late June: “We elected a president, Americans note; we didn’t elect a monarch or king.”
President Obama has not yet responded to the op-ed. Both Boehner and Obama say the public stands behind their respective opinions.