House Approves Resolution Authorizing ACA Lawsuit Against Obama
On Wednesday, House lawmakers voted 225-201 to approve a resolution (H. RES. 676) authorizing a lawsuit against President Obama for his use of executive action to delay the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The vote largely was along party lines, with all but five GOP lawmakers voting for the measure and all Democrats voting against it.
The lawsuit would assert that the Obama administration's delay of the employer mandate falls outside the constitutional powers of the president (Crittenden/McCain Nelson, Wall Street Journal, 7/30).
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who would file the suit on behalf of the House, has said the delay should have been authorized and enacted by Congress as the Constitution does not afford the president the power to choose what laws to change and what laws to execute (Anderson, CQ Roll Call, 7/30). He noted that the lawsuit would focus on changes to legislation made without congressional approval (Wall Street Journal, 7/30).
According to CQ Roll Call, the resolution authorizes Boehner to instruct Office of the General Counsel lawyers to represent the House in court against the Obama administration. The resolution also requires quarterly reporting on how much money is spent on outside counsel or other experts for the lawsuit (CQ Roll Call, 7/30).
Boehner said before the vote, "This isn't about Republicans and Democrats. It's about defending the Constitution we swore an oath to uphold" (Wall Street Journal, 7/30). He added, "Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change? Are you willing to let anyone tear apart what our founders have built?" (Peters, New York Times, 7/30).
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) said the lawsuit was "a monumental waste of time, and energy and funds." She added, "It seems that they can spare no expense attempting to take health care away from millions of Americans" (Demko, Modern Healthcare, 7/30).
Meanwhile, President Obama in a speech on Wednesday said, "Everybody recognizes this is a political stunt" (New York Times, 7/30). He added, "They're going to sue me for taking executive actions to help people. So they're mad I'm doing my job" (Kane/Goldfarb, Washington Post, 7/30).
Republicans have not indicated when they intend to file the suit, according to AP/ABC News (Fram, AP/ABC News, 7/31). After it is filed, the lawsuit could take anywhere from months to years to progress through the courts (McGinnis, Reuters, 7/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.