The White House was dismissive about a potential constitutional showdown as House Republicans are poised to sue President Barack Obama so that he faithfully executes the law.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest pauses during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said Wednesday the Republican-controlled House will file an election-year lawsuit accusing President Barack Obama of failing to carry out the laws passed by Congress. In response, Earnest accused congressional Republicans of obstruction and said they had left Obama with little option but to make greater use of his executive authority. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
“This lawsuit is not something that is going to consume this White House,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
Earnest also said it would not have public support.
“I'm not sure than an announcement that Republicans are preparing a taxpayer funded lawsuit agains the President for doing his job is going to be very warmly received by the American public,” Earnest said.
But Republicans say the president is exceeding his constitutional job description.
Earlier Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced the House would sue over its frustration that Obama has acted unilaterally, without congressional approval, on such issues as immigration, what parts of the Obamacare law would be enforced, gun control and environmental regulation.
Asked if the White House would reconsider the president's “pen and phone” strategy, Earnest answered, “no.”
“The president would like to have the opportunity to work with some partners, even on the other side of the aisle to advance his agenda,” Earnest said. “But he has also said that he's not going to sit around and wait for Congress to change their strategy. He's going to look for opportunities within the scope of his authority to make progress in support of policies that are good for middle class families and good for our economy.”
He said the president has not overstepped his authority.
“The decisions that the president made were well within the scope of his legal authorities as described by the Constitution and as described by the law. Again, you can ask Republicans,” Earnest said.
He went on to alleged that the suit is not over constitutional disagreements but was only about litigating policy disagreements.
“I think the reason they are raising all these concerns is because they disagree with the steps that the president has taken. Again, that is fine,” Earnest said. “What I think is not fine, in the eyes of the American people, is that Republicans are resorting to a taxpayer funded lawsuit and not focused on trying to work through the political process to find common ground and move the country forward.”