Boehner indicates that he had been mulling over the decision recently but that his concerns over Obama’s refusal to comply with constitutional limitations has helped him to decide in favor of a suit.
“The Constitution makes it clear that a president’s job is to faithfully execute the laws. In my view, the president has not faithfully executed the laws,” the Ohio Republican said on Wednesday. “When there are conflicts like this between the legislative branch and the administrative branch, it’s ... our responsibility to stand up for this institution.”
Boehner’s announcement is not a complete shock, as Republicans have been vocal about their frustration with the president’s abuse of executive powers, particularly in his second term.
Fox News reports, “Republicans have voiced frustration with Obama’s second-term ‘pen and phone’ strategy of pursuing policy changes without Congress — particularly environmental rules via the Environmental Protection Agency.”
In March, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would speed up potential lawsuits against the president, but the Senate refused to take up the bill.
According to Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel, the Senate’s failure has forced the House to pursue alternative options. "The president has a clear record of ignoring the American people’s elected representatives and exceeding his constitutional authority, which has dangerous implications for both our system of government and our economy," Steel said in a statement.
And though Boehner’s announcement follows on the heels of various threats to launch impeachment proceedings against the president, he assures that the lawsuit is not about impeachment, but about ensuring that the president adheres to constitutional authority.
“This is not about impeachment — it's about him faithfully executing the laws of this county,” Boehner said. "My view is the president has not faithfully executed the laws. What we have seen clearly over the last five years is an effort to erode the power of the Legislative Branch." Boehner added that it is not simply that Obama ignores the law, but that he virtually “brags about" doing so.
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Photo of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio): AP Images