House GOP Speaker John Boehner is considering a lawsuit against President Barack Obama over his executive order to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Boehner discussed the next potential steps at a closed-door meeting with House Republicans on Tuesday. "We are finalizing a plan to authorize litigation on this issue - one we believe gives us the best chance of success," he said, according to a source in the room.
The options included filing a lawsuit against Obama over the issue or to join the handful of states that are already suing the president. If Boehner moves forward, he would put a resolution authorizing such action up for a vote.
Republicans are still considering legislative action against Obama to push back against his executive action, but that path has become increasingly unclear. Congress passed a bill last year with only short-term funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which will expire at the end of February.
In January, the House passed a DHS funding bill that withholds money to fund Obama’s executive order to allow some undocumented immigrants to receive work permits. The bill would also stop the president’s deferred action program that shields some undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. when they were children. But the prospects for the bill remain uncertain in the Senate and face a veto threat from Obama. A separate border bill was scheduled to come for a vote in the House this week, but leaders pulled the bill. They said the winter weather was responsible, but some House conservatives—who want the measure to go farther—believe it didn't have enough votes to pass.
In November, Boehner filed a lawsuit against Obama over the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, shortly after Obama announced his major deportation relief plan. But legal experts point out that the courts have historically dismissed most lawsuits that lawmakers have brought against the president for lack of standing.
“Republicans control both houses of Congress, but Speaker Boehner still doesn’t have the wherewithal to legislate," said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. "House Republicans’ latest lawsuit against the President is an embarrassing admission of failure."