House Speaker John Boehner announced Wednesday he plans to file suit against President Obama over his alleged abuse of executive power.
"This is not about impeachment -- it's about him faithfully executing the laws of this country," Boehner said.
The speaker alleged that the president not only has ignored the law but "brags about it," decrying what he described as "arrogance and incompetence."
Boehner had been weighing such a lawsuit in recent days, over concerns that Obama exceeded his constitutional authority with executive actions. Republicans have voiced frustration with Obama's second-term "pen and phone" strategy of pursuing policy changes without Congress -- particularly environmental rules via the Environmental Protection Agency. Republicans also complained about numerous unilateral changes to the implementation of ObamaCare.
The lawsuit has not yet been filed. But asked Wednesday whether he intended to proceed, Boehner said: "I am."
"My view is the president has not faithfully executed the laws," he said. "What we have seen clearly over the last five years is an effort to erode the power of the Legislative Branch."
He did not detail his plans at the press conference, but elaborated in a memo to House Republicans sent later Wednesday. In it, he said he plans to bring legislation authorizing the suit to the floor in July, citing concerns that Obama's executive actions could shift the "balance of power decisively and dangerously" in favor of the White House -- giving the president "king-like authority." He cited concerns over policies on health care, energy, foreign policy and education.
"On one matter after another during his presidency, President Obama has circumvented the Congress through executive action, creating his own laws and excusing himself from executing statutes he is sworn to enforce -- at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the America people to stop him," he wrote.
The decision to sue still would have to be formally approved by a group of House leaders, and then the House. The plaintiff would be the House of Representatives.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, asked about the suit at Wednesday's briefing, defended the president's executive authority -- while blasting Republican leadership for what he called a "taxpayer-funded lawsuit against the president of the United States for doing his job."
"It seems that Republicans have shifted their opposition into a high gear," he said. "Frankly, it's a gear that I didn't know previously existed."
Ahead of Boehner's announcement, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi ridiculed the prospect of a suit against the president.
"I make of it as subterfuge," she said. "They're doing nothing here. So they have to give some aura of activity."
Pelosi said the Republican caucus needs an "adult in that room."