President Obama Tells ABC's George Stephanopoulos Boehner's Plan To Sue Him Is A "Stunt"
Well, that didn't take long. President Obama has responded to Speaker John Boehner's lawsuit threat, calling it a "stunt." Speaking to ABC News' George Stephanopoulos Thursday, Obama curtly discarded any serious, deep discussion of the charges Boehner leveled against him, instead focusing on what he considers the key issues — the intractability of the GOP-led Congress, of which Boehner is a leader.
Obama told Stephanopoulos:
The suit is a stunt, but what I’ve told Speaker Boehner directly is, ‘If you’re really concerned about me taking too many executive actions, why don’t you try getting something done through Congress?' ... Right now we’ve got a Republican Party that seems to only care about saying ‘no’ to me ... You’re going to squawk if I try to fix some parts of it administratively that are within my authority while you’re not doing anything?
It emerged Wednesday that Boehner was considering a lawsuit against Obama, over his use of executive orders to circumvent the Congress when he deemed it possible. Obama made this intention very clear in January's State of the Union address, laying out this plan as part of a "year of action." And there really hasn't been this direct a legal challenge to executive power, launched by a sitting politician (in this case, the Speaker of the House) in recent memory.
It's not clear if Boehner's threats will actually materialize into action — he's publicly stated he'll introduce a bill to his House colleagues in July to proceed with the suit, but considering how inherently political an act it is to publicly announce you'll sue the President, it's hard to guess how aggressively he'll actually pursue this.
The core argument of Boehner and his supporters is that of Obama's have overstepped his authority, basically reducing the entire point of government. While the specific orders being challenged haven't been stated, it's likely the decision to delay the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act, and to halt certain deportations of certain young, undocumented immigrants, played a big role.
To his end, Obama doesn't seem terribly concerned, at least not publicly, and while his criticism of the GOP congress is so familiar these days, it's nonetheless a stern rebuke against the gridlocked reality which he feels forced his hand in the first place.
The burden for Boehner and the GOP, if they move ahead with the suit, goes beyond just objecting to executive orders — former President George W. Bush used them a more often, and Obama isn't likely to catch up. Rather, they'll likely identify specific orders which they consider "lawless," a popular word in Republican circles of late, and set about trying to bring them down.