Boehner vs. Obama on Executive Actions

The "This Week" powerhouse roundtable debates President Obama's use of executive actions, gridlock on Capitol Hill, and the politics of the war in Iraq.
8:14 | 06/29/14

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Transcript for Boehner vs. Obama on Executive Actions
You've got speaker Boehner talking about suing you for executive action he says have crossed the line. He says we elected a president, we didn't elect a monarch or king. Well, you notice, he didn't specifically say what exactly he was objecting to. I'm not going to apologize for trying to do something while they're doing nothing. Even if you get sued? You know, the suit is a stunt. But what I told speaker Boehner directly is, if you're really concerned about me taking too many executive actions, why don't you try getting something done through congress? The majority of the American people want to see immigration reform done. We had a bipartisan bill in the senate. It's sitting in the house. Why haven't we gotten it done? You're going to squawk if I try to fix some parts of it administratively that are within my authority while you're not doing anything? Let's talk about this on "The roundtable." Joined by bill kristol, Katrina vanden heuvel, Matthew dowd and donna Brazile. Let me begin with you, Matthew. Pretty clear after being with the president a couple of days, he's given up on congress. Completely going on offense with the American people. Going to continue with the executive actions. I think both sides have given up on each other. You can just feel, watching the interview, and the republicans' reactions, it's incredible frustration that neither side can get anything done. They're looking at it that there's nothing to be done over the next two years. You have the situation where both are heading in bad states in the public's mind. The approval ratings are down. They both think things need to get done. They're frustrated neither side is willing to give. They're both angry. Bill, isn't there a risk on the speaker suing the president, reinforcing the idea that both sides won't get anything done at all? This is a president that lost a 9-0 opinion in the supreme court by overreaching. I agree. The lawsuit, I would not highlight that. I would say the house of representatives have the power of the purse. The power of legislation. The power of oversight. Those are the three primary ways to check a president. They could do more. There are times when the courts have to intervene. I'm not crazy about the particular move that the speaker is taking. Why is he doing it? Because I do think there's a genuine -- this president has waived things and delayed things and created new deadlines in a way that I think goes beyond the Normal extech active -- John Boehner has no problem with the executive action. The republican party is a distraction machine. The congress has no standing in this. They don't have any jobs plan. They have no health care plan. They're not doing anything to govern on behalf of the people. No wonder the president is saying, we need action. Let's get some minimum wage. Let's get immigration reform. Those are dead because of the relent LE relentless resistance to legislate. It's not only John Boehner who has turned around. Look at president Obama. I want to bring this to donna. When he was running for office in 2008 he was talking about George bush overreaching on executive powers. George bush did. In terms of not just executive powers by signing statements. 1200. Compared to president Obama. One of the criticisms of president Obama is that he's not using his executive power. You have to go all the way back to grover Cleveland, back to 1885, to see an executive to not use the pen to -- enact good, Progressive change. John Boehner is in a pickle because the tea party and other pars of his base are restless. They want somebody to check the president's power. Why not reauthorize the highway trust fund? Pass the minimum wage? The American people agree. Background checks. The American people agree. Immigration reform. The American people agree. Because they do not want to give this president any victory. I think the biggest part of the problem, and you highlighted it in the panel before ours. About what's gone on in the supreme court. The most powerful people in Washington are the nine unelected people in the supreme court. It's no longer the congress or the president. I think we should have a vibrant congress that takes on the president legislatively and doesn't do these things. Both sides have been reduced to stunts. I agree. You do need a legislative branch that asserts its authority. Not to say that one doesn't have problem with executive authority when it comes to drones or NSA surveillance. The balance is out. The balance is off. The president should go to congress if he's going to take military action in Iraq. That was a part of your interview. I think we're siting here at a moment talking about John Boehner. The central question of war and peace, there is no military solution to Iraq. And I have to say, sitting next to bill kristol, man, I mean, the architects of catastrophe that have cost this country trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, there should be accountability. We should not, if there are no regrets for the failed assumptions that have grievously wounded this nation, I don't know what happened to our politics and media accountability. But we need it, bill. This country should not go back to war. We don't need armchair warriors. If you feel so strongly, you should, with all due respect, enlist in the Iraqi army. That's a cute line. A million Iraqis have been displaced. Humanitarian aid. What we have done to that country is a crime. We have done to that country? What we did to that country? Let him respond. Yeah, let me respond. The president of the united States, president Obama, said at the end of 2011, we have a stable and peaceful Iraq, thanks mostly to the sacrifices of American soldiers and Marines. We did. President bush made mistakes. He was punish I had for those in 2006 and perhaps in 2008. He had the courage to order the surge in 2007 that made up for those mistakes. And left things peaceful. This president pulled out of Iraq in 2011. He left the Syrian civil war explode. And now we have a terrible situation. The president signed an agreement in 2008 with the Iraqi government to withdraw. President Obama tried to negotiate with Al Maliki. The issue now, and we were talking earlier, this country cannot pour more men, women, money into it. It needs diplomacy. Tough political resolution and bringing the region together. Isn't that what the president is doing? I would like to say. I worked for president bush in his first election. Helped him at the white house. Worked on the second election. Have a son who served in Iraq. Two tours of duty in Iraq. We all know -- most everybody knows this has been a colossal waste of money and the blood of men and women. Over 5,000 people have been killed. Our armed services. This will probably cost us $3 trillion when you add all that. If we don't fix the first mistake by continuing to make a second mistake. If you ask any enlisted person, they'll tell you the only way to solve this is to commit troops there for 100 years. That is not going to happen. That is not going to happen. We're on the 100th anniversary of the killing of arch duke that brought us into world war I where the borders were settled back then. By european countries. We're continuing to reap the oblem of that in the middle east in this situation. I, for one, don't think we should send another man or another woman over there in a mistake that was made in the first place. You get in the last word. All I believe is that at this point, the parliament is meeting on Tuesday in Iraq. They need to come up with a political settlement. Give the Sunni, the shia Arabs, the kurds, they have to share this power. Al Maliki, as long as he's heading up Iraq, nobody is going

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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