In remarks before he met with his cabinet, President Obama basically dared John Boehner to sue him by directing his cabinet to continue to push on areas where he can use executive action.
The president said:
And part of the reason that I wanted to bring the Cabinet together today is to underscore for them my belief I think shared by most Americans that we can’t wait for Congress to actually get going on issues that are vital to the middle class.
We’ve already seen the power of some of our executive actions in making a real difference for ordinary families — whether it’s on minimum wage for federal workers — or for workers who are with federal contractors; equal pay; and the terrific work that’s being done around climate change so we’re transitioning to a clean-energy economy.
But what I’m going to be urging all of you to do, and what I’m going to be continually pushing throughout this year and for the next couple of years is that if Congress can’t act on core issues that would actually make a difference in helping middle-class families get ahead, then we’re going to have to be creative about how we can make real progress.
Keep in mind that my preference is always going to be to work with Congress and to actually get legislation done. That’s how we get some more of the permanent fixes. And as I mentioned yesterday with respect to immigration, whatever we do administratively is not going to be sufficient to solve a broken immigration system.
This is the second day in a row that President Obama has put Boehner on notice. The president is sending a clear message to Speaker Boehner. He is daring Boehner to sue him, because by threatening a lawsuit, the Speaker has opened the door to the entire discussion about why Congress doesn’t get anything done. More importantly, the focus is shifting towards the matter of who is responsible for the lack of legislative action in Congress.
Boehner’s lawsuit has the potential to change the 2014 election. Republicans thought that they were going to be able to run on the idea that President Obama is a tyrant whose power must be checked, but the threat of the lawsuit has caused millions of voters who might have been content to sleep through 2014 to wake up and pay attention.
President Obama and the Democrats are not only welcoming this attention. They are encouraging Republicans to give them more. The reality is that President Obama doesn’t have much of a choice. Since Republicans have brought Congress to a halt, he has to act where he legally can in order to get things done.
Make no mistake about it. Democrats want Boehner to file this lawsuit, and Obama’s actions over the last two days are an attempt to push the Speaker into doing something that he might not want to do. Between the pressure from the right, and the White House, Boehner has painted himself into a corner.
If he isn’t careful, the lawsuit against Obama could end up being one of Boehner’s last major acts as Speaker.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association