President Obama delivered a one-fingered salute to John Boehner and his lawsuit today by announcing that he is going to act without Congress to reform as much of the immigration system as his legal authority allows.
The president said:
Some in the House Republican caucus are using the situation with unaccompanied children as their newest excuse to do nothing. Now I want everybody to think about that. Their argument seems to be that because they system’s broken, we shouldn’t make an effort to fix it. It makes no sense. It’s not on the level. It’s just politics, plain and simple.
Now there are others in the Republican caucus in the House who are arguing that they can’t act because they’re mad at me about using my executive authority too broadly. This also makes no sense. I don’t prefer taking administrative action. I’d rather see permanent fixes to the issue we face. Certainly, that’s true on immigration. Multiple times I’ve said that I would love nothing more than bipartisan legislation to pass the House, the Senate, land on my desk so I can sign it. That’s true about immigration. It’s true about the minimum wage. It’s true about equal pay. There are a whole bunch of things where I would greatly prefer Congress actually do something.
I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing. And in this situation, the failure of House Republicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our security, is bad for our economy, and is bad for our future.
So while I will continue to push House Republicans to drop the excuses and act, and I hope their constituents will too, America can not wait forever for them to act. That’s why today I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.
If Congress won’t do their job, at least we can do ours.
I want to repeat what I said earlier. If House Republicans are really concerned about me taking too many executive actions, the best solution to that is passing bills. Pass a bill. Solve a problem. Don’t just say no on something that everybody agrees needs to be done. Because if we pass a bill, that will supplant whatever I’ve done administratively.
This was nothing less than a giant middle finger to John Boehner and his lawsuit. It is clear that Republicans think it is good politics to run against “Obama the dictator,” but what they don’t understand is that their lawsuit has opened the door for the president to highlight why he has to take so many executive actions. By pursuing a lawsuit, House Republicans have made themselves the issue in 2014 election.
The president announced that he is moving resources to the border to keep them secure, and he is looking to use his executive powers to fix as much of the immigration system as he can. He also stressed that his action doesn’t replace legislation, and he is willing to work with Congress on a bill.
Obama isn’t intimidated by the lawsuit. He is seizing the opportunity that it presents. What better way to get Hispanic voters engaged in the midterm than to make immigration a central issue? President Obama is baiting the House Republicans into pursuing this lawsuit. The president made it clear that he isn’t acting alone because he loves executive action. If House and Senate Republicans stopped obstructing everything, the president wouldn’t need to take administrative action.
The problem isn’t Obama taking too many executive actions. The real problem is that congressional Republicans refuse to do anything.
It turns out that John Boehner’s lawsuit isn’t even a good intimidation tactic. Instead of slowing down the president is doubling his efforts to do what is right for the country, with or without Congress.