Boehner Defends Plans to Sue Obama Over Executive Power

House Speaker John Boehner House Speaker John Boehner J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Speaker John Boehner is defending his plans to sue President Obama later this month over executive power, saying he is standing up for the legislative branch of government and the Constitution.

"In the end, the Constitution makes it clear that the president's job is to faithfully execute the laws," writes Boehner, in an op-ed appearing Sunday on the CNN website. "And, in my view, the president has not faithfully executed the laws when it comes to a range of issues, including his health care law, energy regulations, foreign policy and education."

Boehner asserts that over the last 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."

Over that time, Republicans have protested such executive actions as recess appointments and environmental regulations.

As a result, Boehner says that, later this month, "We will bring legislation to the House floor that would authorize the House of Representatives to file suit in an effort to compel President Obama to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country."

Obama has said he has been acting on behalf of the middle-class, because Republicans in Congress are doing "nothing." He said late last month, "If Congress were to do its job and pass the legislation I've directed them to pass I wouldn't be forced to take matters into my own hands."

And appearing Sunday on CNN's State of the Union panel, Democratic National Committee Communications Director Mo Elleithee responded to the threatened Boehner lawsuit by casting it more as a mid-term election year maneuver intended to excite and turn out GOP base voters on Nov. 4.

"That's all that is, whether it is yet another vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, whether it is yet another hearing on Benghazi, whether it is now suing the president and some members of Congress talking about impeaching the president, this is about ginning up their base," said Elleithee.

But in his op-ed, Boehner writes that Obama has in the last five years has "consistently overstepped his authority under the Constitution, and doing so eroded the power of the legislative branch." Boehner said that timeframe, "not coincidentally," relates to when Democrats lost the majority in the House of Representatives.

Obama also has responded to the potential GOP lawsuit by calling it "a stunt."

But Boehner in his op-ed called the president's responses a "flippant dismissal" of the Constitution, and "disappointing."

"It is utterly beneath the dignity of the office. I know the President is frustrated. I'm frustrated. The American people are frustrated, too," writes Boehner.

"People are tired of this. They are tired of a Congress that would rather fight the president in order to turn out their base than work with the president to get things done," said the DNC's Elleithee, in his CNN appearance Sunday.

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