US House leader to file suit against Obama for abuse of power

AFP , Thursday 26 Jun 2014

US House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, accompanied by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 18, 2014 (Photo: AP)

Republican House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday that his chamber planned to "file suit in the coming weeks" against President Barack Obama for abuse of executive power.

Obama's Republican foes have long accused him of exceeding the regulatory boundaries laid out under the US Constitution, following a series of executive actions taken by the president.

But the suit marks a concrete move in what Boehner called an "effort to compel the president to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country."

Obama's fellow Democrats labeled the action a political stunt -- with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calling it "a subterfuge" -- a little more than four months ahead of midterm elections in which Republicans hope to regain control of the Democrat-held Senate.

"There really needs to be an adult in that room of the Republican caucus," Pelosi said.

In a memo to fellow House lawmakers, Boehner said he intended "to bring to the floor in July legislation that would authorize the House of Representatives... to file suit in the coming weeks."

"When there is a failure on the part of the president to faithfully execute the law, the House has the authority to challenge this failure in the judicial branch by filing suit in federal court," Boehner said.

Republicans accuse Obama of power overreach through executive actions such as delays in implementing some components of health care reform and a 2012 decision halting deportations of certain undocumented individuals who arrive as children to the US.

More recently, lawmakers lashed out at Obama for failing to inform Congress of a prisoner swap to release US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Dreading lame-duck status, Obama declared 2014 a "year of action" and is using executive power to fight climate change, boost the middle class and repair US infrastructure.

While presidential orders can be effective, they pale in comparison to what a like-minded Congress could do. 

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