U.S. President Barack Obama mocked Republican lawmakers' plan to file a lawsuit against him for using his executive authority to make policy, saying Congress had forced his hand by failing to take action.
"The suit is a stunt," Obama said in an interview with ABC News that aired on Friday.
House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Wednesday he planned take legal action alleging the president has abused his executive authority by implementing policies without congressional approval.
"I'm not going to apologize for trying to do something while they're doing nothing," Obama said.
As an example, Obama pointed to efforts to overhaul the U.S. immigration system and said there was wide public support for change.
Sweeping legislation passed the Democratic-controlled Senate last year, but the plan has stalled in the Republican-controlled House, which is led by Boehner. Republicans say the administration must first secure the U.S. borders before easing immigration restrictions.
"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.
"You're going to squawk if I try to fix some parts of it administratively that are within my authority while you're not doing anything?" he said, referring to congressional Republicans.
Boehner's spokesman, Michael Steel, rejected the president's criticism, saying: "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 ... 'stunt' only reinforces their frustration."
The Obama administration has insisted immigration reform is not dead and that it still hopes a comprehensive bill can pass Congress. But it has also said it is considering executive actions to change deportation policies.
Other presidents have also actively invoked executive actions. During his first four years in office, Obama signed 147 such orders. In comparison, George W. Bush signed 173, Bill Clinton enacted 200 and Ronald Reagan ordered 213 in their first terms.
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