By Keith Laing - 07/01/14 03:13 PM EDT
President Obama on Tuesday defended his use of executive actions and dared critics to stop him as Republicans weigh a legal challenge to his powers.
"Middle-class families can't wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff," Obama said defiantly during a speech in Washington. "So sue me.
Obama made the comments as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) considers a lawsuit against the president over his use of executive actions.
Obama has issued a number of executive actions, working to bypass Congress and push his agenda, including measures raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers and deferring deportations for many young illegal immigrants.
Those decisions have Republican critics accusing him of executive overreach, but the president has said that he can't wait for Congress to act on many of the nation’s problems.
On Tuesday, he prodded lawmakers again to act quickly and pass a transportation funding bill.
"If this Congress does not act by the end of the summer, the Highway Trust Fund will run out," Obama said, speaking at the Key Bridge in Washington. "There won't be any money there."
The Department of Transportation said Tuesday that it would begin cutting back payments for road and transit projects in August if Congress does not replenish the fund before it runs out of money.
Obama said the projected bankruptcy would cost U.S. residents thousands of jobs.
“All told, nearly 700,000 jobs could be at risk next year. That would be like Congress threatening to lay off the entire population of Denver, or Seattle or Boston,” he said. “That's a lot of people. It would be a bad idea."
Obama has suggested that lawmakers approve a four-year, $302 billion proposal to address the transportation funding gap.
His proposal, though, relies on using approximately $150 billion from a corporate tax reform proposal that lawmakers are unlikely to approve.
Obama on Tuesday defended his funding proposal, saying it wasn’t a radical idea.
"It's not crazy," he said. "It's not socialism. It's not the imperial presidency. No laws are broken. We're just building roads and bridges like we've been doing for the last I don't know, 50, 100 years?
"This isn't 'Obamabridge,' " he added. "It's the [Francis Scott] Key Bridge."
Obama blamed the infrastructure funding standoff solely on Republicans in Congress, saying they "have refused to act" on his idea to use corporate tax reform savings to pay for transportation projects.
"Republican obstruction is not just some abstract political stunt," he said. "It has real and direct consequences for middle-class families all across the country.
"I haven't heard a good reason why they haven't acted [on transportation funding]," Obama continued. "It's not like they've been busy with other stuff."
Even as he challenged congressional critics of his executive actions, though, Obama admitted he needed lawmakers to act to solve the transportation funding crunch.
"I told [Boehner] I'd rather do things with [him]," Obama said. "Pass some laws. Make sure the Highway Trust Fund is funded so we don't lay off hundreds of thousands of workers. It's not that hard."