By Scott Wong - 11/21/14 09:49 AM EST
Speaker John BoehnerJohn Boehner3 ways the next president can succeed on immigration reform Republican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare MORE vowed Friday that the House would act to stop President Obama's executive action on immigration, saying it was “damaging the presidency.”
“With this action, the president has chosen to deliberately sabotage any chance of enacting bipartisan reforms that he claims to seek,” BoehnerJohn Boehner3 ways the next president can succeed on immigration reform Republican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare MORE said in a news conference at the Capitol. “And as I told the president yesterday, he’s damaging the presidency itself.”
Boehner did not specifically weigh in on a debate raging in his conference: whether Congress has the authority to defund Obama's changes to immigration policy through a bill to fund the government. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), who's been pushing for an omnibus bill to fund the government through the fiscal year, dismissed such an effort as "impossible."
"We're working with our members and looking at the options that are available to us, but I will say to you, the House will, in fact, act," Boehner said.
Minutes after he stepped away from the podium, Boehner’s office announced that the GOP-led House had filed a lawsuit against Obama challenging executive actions on changes to his health care law. But the lawsuit was not expanded to challenge the president’s immigration actions, since that would require a formal vote by House lawmakers.
However, GOP aides said expanding the lawsuit to cover Obama's immigration move was still one of the options under consideration.
By taking unilateral actions on his healthcare law and immigration reform, Boehner said Friday, Obama has broken any trust that existed with Republicans. But the Speaker reiterated that voters are demanding that both parties come together to fix the immigration system.
"We have a broken immigration system, and the American people expect us to work together to fix it," Boehner said. "We ought to do it through the democratic process — moving bills through the people's House, through the Senate, and to the president's desk."
Boehner’s remarks drew quick fire from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), whose chief spokesman said Boehner is surrendering “his gavel to the most radical and irresponsible anti-immigrant voices of his party.”
“Republicans have a choice: act productively on immigration, or waste taxpayer dollars on yet another legal vendetta against President Obama or Republican government shutdown,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said in a statement.
“President Obama has announced strong actions to restore accountability to our broken immigration system. Republicans continue to scramble for excuses for their own failure of leadership.”
— This story was last updated at 12:15 p.m.