House Speaker John Boehner told Republicans behind closed doors on Tuesday that GOP leaders are evaluating a variety of legal actions to take against President Barack Obama following his executive actions on immigration.
“We are finalizing a plan to authorize litigation on this issue - one we believe gives us the best chance of success,” Boehner told members, according to a source in the room.
Those options could include filing a congressional lawsuit against the president or joining the 26 states challenging Obama's executive order granting temporary legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants.
The House would need to vote to authorize any future action the chamber would take.
Democrats immediately blasted House leaders. Drew Hammill, spokesman for Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, called Republicans' pursuit of the lawsuit "an embarrassing admission of failure."
"Once again, House Republicans are crawling to the courts to relieve them of their responsibility to govern. Republicans should stop wasting millions of taxpayer dollars suing the President, and start showing some seriousness for the security of the American people," Hammill said.
Boehner’s announcement comes as the House mulls how to deal with immigration and just a day after GOP leaders pulled the border security bill from a vote on the floor. Leaders blamed the winter weather for shortening the week, but some House conservatives argue that the bill would not have had enough votes to succeed.
“I think…there was an informal whip that was going on over the last few days and I don’t think it went the way [leadership] wanted it to go,” conservative Rep. Matt Salmon told reporters Tuesday, adding, “God bless the weather.”
Boehner admitted at a Tuesday press conference that House Republicans have had “a couple of stumbles” with regard to some of their legislative endeavors since the 114th Congress convened. But, he added, he remains committed to “talk to our members about these issues,” and he pledged to move on the border bill at a later time.
If Republicans choose the route of congressional litigation, it would make the second lawsuit pending against the administration. The House voted last year to challenge Obama on health care.