By Justin Sink - 06/26/14 10:07 AM EDT
President Obama will not be "cowed" into failing to exercise his executive authorities by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), White House press secretary Josh Earnest vowed Thursday.
"The fact of the matter is, the president's not going to be cowed into failing to use the authority that is vested in the presidency to make progress on behalf of middle-class families all across the country," Earnest said in an interview with MSNBC.
Republicans have "engaged in a coordinated political strategy to block any progress, to block anything the president supports — even common-sense things and even things that have traditionally earned bipartisan support," Earnest argued. "So what the president has said is, 'I'm going to leave the door open to working with Democrats and Republicans to make progress, but I'm not going to wait for Republicans to try to find some common ground.' "
On Wednesday, Boehner told reporters he was readying a federal lawsuit against the president for failing in “faithfully executing the laws of our country."
“What we’ve seen clearly over the last five years is an effort to erode the power of the legislative branch,” Boehner said. “I believe the president is not faithfully executing the laws of our country, and on behalf of the institution and the Constitution, standing up and fighting for this is in the best long-term interest of the Congress.”
It's believed Boehner's lawsuit will focus primarily on the administration's decision to delay key requirements of his signature healthcare law, including requirements on certain businesses to provide insurance for their employees or face fines.
But Earnest argued those delays were "absolutely" within the bounds of the law.
"In fact it's part of making sure this law works best," the press secretary said. "We're convinced that what we need to do is maximize the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for state governments across the country, but more importantly, for businesses large and small and families out there."
Earnest said Republicans were complaining "not because they're particularly concerned about the law, but because they voted against the legislation."
"We have seen they have been rooting for years for this legislation to fail," Earnest said.
Boehner and other Republicans are likely eager to bring ObamaCare back into the political spotlight as lawmakers return to their home districts to begin the midterm campaign season.
A Bloomberg survey released earlier this month showed that despite outpacing its initial goals, reaction to the Affordable Care Act remains mixed. Just 39 percent of those polled say they support the law in its current form, while 42 percent say that it went too far. Another 11 percent of respondents complain ObamaCare didn't go far enough.