By Russell Berman - 01/28/14 12:33 PM EST
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday delivered a blunt message to President Obama ahead of his plan for increased unilateral action: We’re watching you.
The House GOP "will continue to look closely at whether the president is faithfully executing laws, as he took an oath to do,” Boehner told reporters after a meeting of the Republican conference. “We’re going to watch very closely, because there’s a Constitution that we all take an oath to, including him, and following the Constitution is the basis for House Republicans.”
Asked what the House would do if lawmakers determined Obama skirted the Constitution, Boehner said only, “There are options that are available to us.” Republicans, he said, would discuss them at their annual retreat, which begins Wednesday in Cambridge, Md.
In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, Obama plans to announce that he will unilaterally raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for employees under new federal contracts.
Boehner said he thought the president had the authority to do that, but he dismissed the action as one that is likely to have little practical impact.
“Let’s understand something: This affects not one current contract,” he said. “It only affects future contracts with the federal government. So I think the question is, how many people, Mr. President, will this executive action actually help?”
Citing his career as a small-business owner, Boehner blasted the president’s call for a higher minimum wage as “bad policy” that would costs jobs and “hurt the very people the president purports to want to help.”