By Benjamin Goad - 07/10/14 03:41 PM EDT
The White House on Thursday brushed off a looming legal challenge to President Obama’s use of executive power, as top administration officials touted benefits from dozens of unilateral steps taken in lieu of action from the divided Congress.
National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients said 44 executive actions taken in the first half of 2014 have improved the nation’s fiscal health and would be followed by more in the latter months of the year.
“The president is hitting the accelerator and growing our economy to create jobs,” Zients told reporters.
The actions, detailed in a report issued earlier Thursday, range from steps to strengthen regulations on power plants to measures designed to bolster the manufacturing sector.
Over the course of the first six months of the year, the economy added by 1.4 million jobs, Zients said.
His remarks come as the White House awaits a lawsuit, announced by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), from House Republicans who accuse Obama of overstepping the authority of his office.
Boehner has not detailed what exactly the lawsuit will address, though it's likely to be a challenge of one or more of president's more controversial executive actions — including multiple delays to provisions of his signature healthcare law.
Zients maintained that Obama has merely used the authority “vested in the presidency” and said the American public would not support “a taxpayer-funded lawsuit against the president of the United States for doing his job.”
Obama mocked the lawsuit himself a day earlier, during at an event in Colorado, where he said Republicans are "mad at me for going ahead and doing things."
“I don't know which things they find most offensive, whether it's creating jobs, or easing student loan burdens, or raising wages, but it's really bothering them," he added. "They have a plan to sue me. They have plans to sue me for taking executive actions that are within my authority, while they do nothing."
This story was uodated at 7:22 a.m. on Friday.