House Speaker John Boehner today took a direct assault at the president's immigration announcement as he questioned the constitutionality of his decision to stop deporting and begin granting work permits to hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants and he surmised that President Obama made the announcement because the president "can't talk about his economic policies."
"It's the president himself who said the last couple of years that he couldn't do this and so the question remains whether he's violating the Constitution," Boehner, R-Ohio, said. "But let's go back to what's really going on here: The president can't talk about his economic policies, can't talk about the number one issue on the minds of Americans because his policies have failed. They've made things worse, and so he's turned to the politics of envy and division, which I don't think the American people are going to accept."
Boehner said he believes "the president's actions are going to make it much more difficult for us to work in a bipartisan way to get to a permanent solution [on immigration reform]."
"If we're serious about dealing with the immigration problem, first thing I'm going to ask is where is the president's plan? There is no plan," he said. "Secondly, was there any attempt to work with the Congress? No, there was not, and the point is that we've got to do a comprehensive immigration reform plan that … secures our borders, enforces our laws and fixes the problems for those 12 million illegals that are here in our country."
A short time later this morning, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters that he believes the president's decision was "in the best interests of the country" and that nobody questions the constitutionality of prosecutorial discretion.
On the Supreme Court's upcoming decision on the president's health care law, Hoyer admitted that Democrats have "of course" privately discussed the possibility of the court striking down the law, but the Maryland Democrat maintained confidence that the bill is constitutional and the justices will uphold it.
Boehner once again said that if anything is left after the justices rule, the House will move to repeal all of it and then move in a "step-by-step approach to common-sense reforms that will lower the cost of health insurance and ensure that the American people can go to the doctor of their choice."
"In the coming days, the Supreme Court is going to rule on the president's health care bill, which is making it - health care costs - continue to rise and making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers," he said. "Unless the Supreme Court throws out the entire 'Obamacare' bill, the House will move to repeal all of it because it is driving up health care costs and making it harder for small employers to hire people."
Finally, as Boehner walked away from the podium, a reporter asked him whether "it's rude to interrupt the president," referencing Neil Munro of The Daily Caller's outburst during the president's immigration announcement last week.
"Is it rude to interrupt the speaker?" the speaker retorted, chuckling along the way.