House Speaker John Boehner told Fox News Wednesday he "was the tea party before there was a tea party," and that he has no plans to back down on his pursuit against President Barack Obama's executive overreach.
In an interview with "Special Report"
host Bret Baier, Boehner said reports are true that he plans again to sue Obama over his executive actions, which critics say are an unconstitutional usurpation of Congress' authority.
Specifically, Boehner's suit will target Obama's action in November granting legal status to millions of illegal immigrants. That, Boehner said, was a violation of the Constitution and a violation of Obama's oath of office to uphold the Constitution.
"I said in December we were going to do everything to try to stop him. That is why when we passed the [Homeland Security] appropriation bill a couple of weeks ago we took the president's ability to do what he did away from him," Boehner said. "That bill is awaiting action over in the United States Senate."
But the lawsuit isn't about immigration, he said.
"This is the president violating the Constitution, violating his oath of office and, frankly, not upholding the rule of law."
Obama's nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch, said in her Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday that Obama acted properly.
To that, Boehner countered, "the president said 22 times that he did not have the authority to do what he did. … Twenty-two times over six years he said he didn't have the authority to do it yet he decided to do it anyway."
The House already has one lawsuit pending against the White House over Obama's unilateral rescinding of certain parts of Obamacare, including delaying implementation of the employer mandate.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Republican lawsuits against the president "an embarrassing admission of failure" and that "House Republicans are crawling to the courts to relieve them of their responsibility to govern."
Boehner told Fox News that isn't true.
"We are a co-equal branch of our government," he said. "The president doesn't have the ability to change law by himself."
Meanwhile, on the House and Senate floors, the newly elected GOP-majority Congress is acting to fight the president by passing bills on immigration and Obamacare.
A vote on a border security bill was canceled, Boehner said, because there are members who think there are items in the bill outside of the Homeland Security Committee's jurisdiction, while other members think not enough was included.
But Boehner said the bill will come up for a vote and it will pass.
Republicans also plan another vote to repeal Obamacare next week, even though they don't have the ability to override a promised veto.
Boehner admitted as much, but said there are 47 new Republicans who haven't had a chance to go on record casting their votes against Obamacare and he wants them to have that chance.
"Obamacare is hurting our economy," Boehner said. "It's hurting the job prospects for millions of Americans and it's hurting our whole healthcare delivery system while at the same time driving up costs for the average American."
Some of the early legislative efforts have misfired, and Boehner told Baier part of that is because the committees aren't completely organized yet.
"We are trying to get more done than what we are capable of," he said, but added, "We are in solid shape."
Republicans have been criticized for having no cohesive alternative to Obamacare, but Boehner said that will change.
"There are three committee chairmen with the jurisdiction over the healthcare policy in our country. They are working together to craft what we believe would be a better approach with regard to healthcare for the American people than Obamacare," he said.
"There will be an alternative, and you'll get to see it."
Boehner also has pushed back against Obama by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress about proposed U.S. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.
The White House opposes sanctions, saying they will hurt talks currently under way, and aides say the administration was miffed at not being told ahead of time.
Boehner brushed those concerns aside, telling Fox News that Congress is a co-equal branch of government, and as such, "I don't have a problem at all in doing what I did to invite the prime minister to come to Congress to address the concerns."
Asked if there is antipathy in the administration toward Netanyahu, Boehner said, "Of course there is. They don't even try to hide it."
Boehner said he had not heard reports that former Obama strategist Jeremy Bird was working in Israel to try to defeat Netanyahu in his re-election campaign.
"I don't want to say I'm surprised or not, but I hope that would not be the case," he said.
"Israel has been our strongest ally in the region for decades. We have a great relationship with them and we ought to look for ways to work together on behalf of our shared interests and not have the kind of antipathy that we have seen over the last several years."
Boehner faced a tough bid for re-election, with 25 tea party Republicans choosing not to vote for him, almost forcing a second round of voting.
Boehner said he intends to stick around for a while, and believes he can make peace.
"Listen, I was the tea party before there was a tea party. I understand their concerns. I understand their frustrations," he said. "But we have a Constitution that we abide by and we are going to live by."
"And whether people like it or not, Barack Obama's going to be the president for the next two years," he said. "We have to find a way to hold him accountable and try to find common ground to get things done on behalf of the American people."
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