It's time for the president to do his job and work with Congress on immigration and tax reform, not “go it alone and cement a legacy of increased polarization, partisanship and lawlessness," House Speaker John Boehner said in a highly charged open letter Friday.
"On both issues, he should resist the siren song of political expediency and stand up to his political base to do the right thing, even though it will be harder," Boehner wrote in his letter to President Barack Obama, which was published on Politico
The letter was the Ohio Republican's latest salvo after Congressional Republicans agreed to sue Obama for abuse of office in action that focuses on his use of executive action to overturn elements of Obamacare. Republicans have also criticized Obama on actions he has taken on immigration.
It also came after Obama on Wednesday said he plans to seize every opportunity he can to use executive power
on issues on which he believes congressional Republicans are obstructing.
Boehner, in his letter, said that work on immigration and the economy must come through Congress, not Obama's executive actions.
"The American people’s top priority is getting our economy moving again, and helping the private sector create more jobs," said Boehner, noting that the House has moved 40 jobs bills, but no action has been taken on them.
In addition, he blamed the "terrible humanitarian crisis" on the nation's southern border not only on a 2008 law giving legal protections to migrants from South America, but also "in part, by President Obama’s decision to unilaterally rewrite the law and refuse to enforce immigration laws for some individuals."
And "news leaks" from the White House suggest Obama plans to "repeat that mistake, and make it far worse" by rewriting the law and expanding unilateral action.
"That would be a grievous mistake," said Boehner. "We need to fix our broken immigration system, but it must be done by Congress, and it must be done in a common-sense, step-by-step fashion so that the American people have a say in what we are doing. We can only succeed if the people understand and support these reforms."
The nation's tax code is also "badly broken," Boehner wrote. Companies have an incentive to relocate their headquarters to lower their tax bills, and while Obama came close in 2011 to agreeing on a solution to weed out deductions and lower the tax rate, the White House backed off.
And while House Republicans have been working on the goal, including a discussion draft by Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp to lower taxes while modernizing taxes for companies doing business overseas, Obama is hinting at unilateral action to reduce companies' tax inversions
, said the House speaker.
"Such a move sounds politically appealing, but anything truly effective would exceed his executive authority," said Boehner. "The president cannot simply re-write the tax code himself."
Instead, said Boehner, Obama needs to get allies like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden to act on tax reform.
"The president, the leader of his party, must actually lead it," said Boehner.
If Obama acts "the right way" and working with Congress, there is "no doubt" the actions would "boost our economy, create jobs and, perhaps, begin to rebuild the tattered bonds of trust between the American people and their government," Boehner concluded.
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