President Barack Obama on Friday said he wasn't going to apologize for his use of executive power, dismissing a planned lawsuit by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) as nothing more than a campaign ploy.
"The suit is a stunt,” Obama said in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America."
In a memo addressed to his colleagues on Wednesday, Boehner officially announced he would introduce legislation in the coming weeks that would authorize the House General Counsel to sue the Obama administration and "compel" the president to enforce existing law. Without citing the specific executive orders he found troubling, Boehner named health care, energy, foreign policy and education as areas where the president has "repeatedly run an end-around on the American people."
“You notice that he didn't specifically say what exactly he was objecting to,” Obama said in the interview. “I'm not going to apologize for trying to do something while they're doing nothing."
Often stymied by a recalcitrant Congress, Obama declared 2014 a "year of action" and issued executive orders on immigration, the federal minimum wage and federal pay discrimination. His Environmental Protection Agency further plans to unveil unprecedented regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. But the moves have infuriated Republicans, who say the president is unlawfully bypassing Congress.
"We elected a president, Americans note; we didn’t elect a monarch or king," Boehner wrote in the memo.
Obama said he was forced to take action because Congress refused to do its job.
"What I've told Speaker Boehner directly is, if you're really concerned about me taking too many executive actions, why don't you try getting something done through Congress?" Obama said on ABC. "The majority of American people want to see immigration reform done. We had a bipartisan bill through the Senate. And you're going to squawk if I try to fix some parts of it administratively that are within my authority, while you are not doing anything?"
UPDATE: 10:10 a.m. -- Michael Steel, a spokesman for the speaker, told The Huffington Post that the president erred in disregarding the suit.
“The American people, their elected representatives, and the Supreme Court have all expressed serious concerns about the President’s failure to follow the Constitution. Dismissing them with words like, ‘smidgen’ or ‘stunt’ only reinforces their frustration," he said.