Speaker John Boehner told House Republicans in a closed-door meeting today that a lawsuit might be the best –- or only –- option to try and overturn President Obama’s executive action on immigration, ABC News has learned.
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“We are finalizing a plan to authorize litigation on this issue, one we believe gives us the best chance of success,” Boehner told GOP lawmakers at their weekly conference meeting, according to a Republican official in the room.
One month before the Homeland Security Department runs out of funding, Republican leaders are scrambling to find alternative ways to express their displeasure over the president’s decision last year to grant work visas to up to five million undocumented immigrants.
The department runs out of money on Feb. 27, under an agreement Congress reached last year to keep the rest of the government running, and Republican leaders are unwilling to risk a government shutdown over another immigration fight.
But the lawsuits against Obama from Congress are beginning to stack up.
Last year, House Republicans took legal action against the president over the Affordable Care Act. The lawsuit is already on its third set of lawyers on the Republican side and no quick resolution is in sight in the courts.
The discussion of legal action from Boehner comes one day after Republican leaders bulled a bill to strengthen security along the southern U.S. border amid concerns it might not pass because some lawmakers believed the measure didn’t go far enough. After the closed-door meeting, Boehner downplayed any problems with the immigration funding fight.
“It's all about working with our members, listening to our members, and working through what are some very difficult issues,” Boehner told reporters.
Some hardline immigration critics in Congress are unlikely to get behind a plan to file a lawsuit, which they see as another example of GOP leaders failing to stand up aggressively enough to the White House.
The challenge facing the new Republican-controlled Congress is finding a way forward that is acceptable to immigration critics in the House that can also pass the Senate.