A House lawsuit against President Obama over executive actions could have the ironic effect of causing him to take even more.
Obama is responding to the House Republicans' lawsuit challenging his executive-action end-runs around Congress by looking for more areas where he can take action unilaterally, said a White House official.
“We certainly aren’t going to trim our sails,” White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer told reporters gathered for a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, adding that White House staff are currently on the hunt for more areas for Obama to issue executive actions.
“If you’re looking for progress, the only place that is happening right now is in the White House, because of Republican obstruction,” he said.
In the early fall, Obama is expected to issue one or more executive actions on immigration. Although Pfeiffer would not offer any hints on exactly what parts of the nation's immigration laws they would address, he said, “taking executive action will allow us to direct more resources to the border.”
Providing more money to deal with the flood of unattended immigrant children coming across the border is important, Pfeiffer said, because “the House has decided that they’re going to head home for the month of August without passing the president’s [border] supplemental request.”
The White House, he said, is taking impeachment saber-rattling by Republicans such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and other Tea Party conservatives very seriously, even if the rest of Washington does not.
“I saw a poll today that had a huge portion of the Republican Party base saying they supported impeaching the president. A lot of people in this town laugh that off. I would not discount that possibility,” he said.
“I think Speaker Boehner by going down the path of this lawsuit has opened the door to Republicans possibly considering impeachment at some point in the future,” he said.
The possibility of impeachment, he said, becomes more likely if Obama takes executive action to slow deportations of some immigrants who have strong family ties in the U.S., he argued.
Boehner has repeatedly ruled out any pursuit of impeachment.
"We have a humanitarian crisis at our border, and the White House is making matters worse with inattention and mixed signals. It is telling, and sad, that a senior White House official is focused on political games, rather than helping these kids and securing the border,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.
House Republicans narrowly crafted their lawsuit to focus on executive actions Obama has taken to make adjustments to Obamacare in order to sidestep the more politically problematic issue involving the president’s action allowing some illegal immigrants who came to the country before the age of 16 to remain and obtain work permits and driver’s licenses.
The House Rules Committee approved a resolution authorizing Boehner’s lawsuit this week. A full House vote is expected next week.