WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans said Tuesday that they will launch an election-year study of what they say has been executive overreach by President Barack Obama and other recent presidents.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said that his panel would vote in coming weeks on creating a task force to conduct the investigation. Goodlatte said the probe would be led by Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, a conservative and frequent Obama critic.
Goodlatte announced the examination at a time when Republicans have repeatedly accused Obama of exceeding his constitutional powers.
The House GOP is pursuing a federal lawsuit accusing the president of unconstitutionally spending money that Congress has not approved for his health care overhaul. In a separate case, 26 states are seeking to prevent Obama from making it easier for millions of immigrants to avoid deportation.
Republicans also accused Obama of trying to work around a Congress that has repeatedly rejected tougher gun restrictions when he announced executive actions last week to modestly tighten firearms curbs.
The White House and congressional Democrats did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Goodlatte spokeswoman Jessica Collins said the task force would consist of 12 Republicans and nine Democrats, assuming they participate.
Republicans named to the panel include some of the party's more conservative and higher profile members. Among them were Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who leads the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who heads the House committee investigating the 2012 attacks that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
In a statement announcing the task force, Republicans cited "the historic breakdown of the separation of powers and checks and balances that has led to the unprecedented increase in presidential power and executive overreach." It said the panel would also study how Congress' ability to conduct oversight of the executive branch has been affected and how lawmakers can regain their proper powers.
"Presidents of both parties have aggrandized their power and usurped Congress to legislate from the Oval Office," Goodlatte said. "This is not a Republican or Democratic issue; it's an American issue and touches the very core of our system of government."