By a vote of 225 to 201, the House of Representatives authorized Speaker of the House John Boehner to file suit against President Barack Obama on Wednesday. Five Republicans joined all House Democrats to reject the measure, which Obama has called a “political stunt.”
John Boehner and President Obama have had a turbulent relationship since the Republican lawmaker from Ohio succeeded Democrat Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House in 2011; and it has undergone many iterations. Their relationship did not begin with antipathy, but as political crises came and went, the two men evolved from virtually political strangers to political opponents, although they did occasionally partner in negotiations. Acrimony arose, destabilizing the relationship between Obama and Boehner, in 2011, when negotiations to reduce the U.S. deficit fell apart. The president claimed that Boehner gave up after realizing that the Republican party would not support the agreement’s significant tax increases, while the speaker said Obama had “moved the goal posts” last minute by demanding additional tax revenues. Acrimony only increased in November of last year, after the federal government shutdown for sixteen days because Republicans refused to pass needed funding legislation because it financed the Affordable Care Act.
But, with John Boehner announcing that House Republicans would sue President Barack Obama for misusing executive authority, political dysfunction has hit a new level. “This is not about impeachment,” Boehner said in a late June interview. “This is about faithfully executing the laws of our country,” added the speaker, whose political legacy is deeply intertwined with that of President Obama.
More specifically, Boehner has introduced legislation to allow House Republicans to sue President Obama for his overuse of executive orders.