House Speaker John Boehner has had enough of President Barack Obama moving on his agenda and leaving Congress behind.
The Ohio Republican announced Wednesday he plans to file a lawsuit against the president for signing a number of executive orders - a means of taking action without congressional approval. The president has moved unilaterally on a number of issues recently, from the environment, immigration and even raising the minimum wage for federal workers.
"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,” Boehner told reporters. "Congress has its job to do and so does the president. And when there's a conflict like this between the legislative branch and the administrative branch, it's in my view our responsibility to stand up for this institution in which we serve."
Boehner’s maneuver escalates a public spat that has been raging for years between the House speaker and the White House, and it could have the potential to test the limits of the executive branch’s power in court.
House Republicans have long protested the Obama Administration making fixes to the health care law as well as issuing an executive order to give DREAMers, immigrants who entered the country illegally as children, a chance to stay.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called talk of a lawsuit a childish stunt and added that Republicans “are doing nothing here so they have to give some aura of activity.”
“There really needs to be an adult in that room of the Republican Caucus,” the top House Democrat said.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest also predictably assailed Republicans for wasting taxpayer money on a frivolous pursuit.
"It seems that Republicans have shifted their opposition into a high gear," he said during the daily White House briefing. "Frankly, it's a gear that I didn't know previously existed."
Earnest also noted the lawsuit would likely cost taxpayers, who would have to foot the bill.
The lawsuit is sure to add fireworks to an already explosive election year. Some in the Republican base have been arguing that the president has been overstepping his boundaries for years. While there have been calls within GOP base to impeach Obama, Boehner said that his lawsuit was not a step toward that.
"This is not about impeachment,” Boehner said. “It's about him faithfully executing the laws of this country.”
In order to sue, Boehner will need the approval of a coalition of House leaders. Assuming he gets past that, the lawsuit could be brought in a matter of weeks – just in time for for a heated election season.