A senior House Republican said Friday that his caucus couldn’t simultaneously sue President Barack Obama for perceived abuse of executive authority and expect him to act unilaterally to address the border crisis.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), a close ally of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), was asked to reconcile the last-minute scrapping of border legislation with the House GOP’s lawsuit in an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“There was a contradiction yesterday that I’m still struggling to understand,” panelist Eugene Robinson said. “The leadership statement when the bill didn’t pass essentially said, ‘Well, but there are plenty of administrative things that President Obama can do and should be doing at the border.’ And that was a day after the house voted to sue President Obama for taking administrative action. So how does that square?”
Cole didn’t disagree.
“Look, you can’t say on the one hand that the President’s overreaching by acting without legislative authority and direction, and then refuse to give him legislative authority and direction in another area,” he said.
“We’ve got a good bill that actually addresses the problem, a problem the President has identified but refused to produce a solution to, provides an adequate amount of money to get us to the end of the year,” he added. “We’ll continue to give him additional resources next year. But the first thing is to actually pass legislation across the House floor. So I’ll tell you that’s what we’re going to do today. I’m not going to point a lot of fingers at the president until we get our own job done.”
The lawsuit against Obama specifically challenges his use of executive authority to delay deadlines under Obamacare. Boehner alluded to the President’s ability to act without Congress to address the border situation Friday on Twitter.
Every president issues executive orders & takes action where he can. Most of them, though, do so within the law.
— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) August 1, 2014
The House plans to vote on a revised border bill on Friday.
This post has been updated.