Boehner: Obama's Action 'a Serious Threat to Our System of Government'

By Terence P. Jeffrey | December 2, 2014 | 10:53am EST

House Speaker John Boehner (AP Photo)

( - House Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) said at a press conference this morning that President Barack Obama had no constitutional authority to take the unilateral action he has taken on immigration and that by doing so the president has posed a serious threat to the U.S. system of government.

Boehner, however, said that while House Republicans were "going to proceed" to counter the president's action, they had not yet decided how they would proceed. reporter Ali Meyer asked Boehner: "The Constitution requires the president to 'take care that the laws be faithfully executed.' Where specifically in the Constitution does it give the president the power not to enforce the immigration laws against five million violators of those laws?"

Boehner responded: "We do not believe that the president has the authority to do what he did."

"We are looking at a number of options in terms of how do we address this," Boehner said in response to another reporter. "This is a serious breach of our Constitution. It is a serious threat to our system of government.

"And frankly we have limited options and limited abilities to deal with it directly," said Boehner. "But that's why we are continuing to talk to our members. We've not made decisions about how we are going to proceed. But we are in fact going to proceed."

"His decision to take unilateral action on immigration, action he himself said exceeded his authority, makes it harder for the American people and our elected representatives to trust his word on any issue," Boehner said in a prepared statement at the beginning of his press conference. "I said before Thanksgiving that Republicans would fight his unilateral actions. We are looking at a variety options both for right now and when Republicans control both houses of the Congress next year.

"We'll continue to discuss with our members a number of options in terms of how we will deal with this--in consultation, again, with the members," said Boehner. "But no decisions have been made at this point."

Sen. Jeff Sessions (AP Photo)

On Nov. 20, President Obama announced that he was taking unilateral action to suspend enforcement of the nation's immigration laws against certain categories of illegal aliens and to grant these illegal aliens the ability to stay in the United States and work. The administration has estimated that the president's decision not to enforce the law could apply to as many as five million illegal aliens.

The government is currently being funded by a continuing resolution that expires on Dec. 11. Before then, Congress must enact new funding legislation to keep the government funded after that date. Some conservatives in Congress--including Sen. Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.)--have suggested that the Republican House pass a CR that prohibits the Executive Branch from implementing Obama's unilateral action on immigration. If the current Senate Democratic majority, led  by Sen. Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), blocks that CR for that reason, the House Republicans can pass a short-term CR that carries the government only into early next year when the new Congress is seated. In that Congress, the Republicans will control both the House and the Senate.

"The House should send the Senate a government funding bill which ensures that no funds can be spent for this unlawful purpose," Sessions said the day Obama announced his plan. "If Reid's Senate Democrats vote to surrender their own institution to an imperial decree and block the measure, when the House should send a short-term funding measure so the new GOP majority can be sworn in and pass a funding bill with the needed language."


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