(CNSNews.com) - "The fact that they (Republicans) are considering a taxpayer-funded lawsuit against the president of the United States for doing his job, I think, is the kind of step that most Americans wouldn't support," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Wednesday.
He spoke a few hours after House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced that Republicans will sue the president for exceeding his executive authority and for failing to faithfully execute the law of the land.
"You know, the Constitution makes it clear that a president's job is to faithfully execute the laws," Boehner told a news conference on Wednesday. "In my view, the president has not faithfully executed the laws. We have a system of government outlined in our Constitution with the Executive Branch, the Legislative branch and the Judicial branch.
Congress has its job to do, and so does the president. And when there's conflicts like this between the Legislative branch and the Administrative branch, it's in my view our responsibility to stand up for this institution in which we serve."
A reporter asked Boehner if he expects a lawsuit to change the president's behavior, or if the lawsuit is "more about energizing your base right before the election?"
"No, this is about defending the institution in which we serve," Boehner responded.
"And what we've seen clearly over the last five years is an effort to erode the power of the Legislative branch. And I believe the president is not faithfully executing the laws of our country, and on behalf of the institution and our Constitution, standing up and fighting for this is in the best long-term interest of the Congress."
At the White House, Earnest told reporters that President Obama would prefer to work with Congress. "What the president has also said is that where necessary, he's willing to take action on his own, using the executive authority that's vested in the presidency, to advance the cause of expanding economic opportunity for the middle class and strengthening our economy overall."
Earnest criticized Republicans for blocking progress in Congress, which is their prerogative in a divided government, as established by the nation's founders.
"I think what most Americans would say is they want their leaders in Washington, D.C., to make progress on behalf of the American people," Earnest said.
"I'm not suggesting that that is easy. Bipartisan progress, in particular, is difficult. But just, you know, lapsing into these kinds of tactics that -- for so long that have been employed in the legislative branch and now appear to being applied at the judicial branch is frankly not the right way to go."
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the anticipated Republican lawsuit a "subterfuge."
Republicans are "doing nothing here," she said, "and so they have to give some aura of activity."
As CNSNews.com previously has reported, Republicans accuse Obama of exceeding his authority on a number of issues, including immigration; Obamacare; and marriage law.