If at first you don’t succeed, try again. By the 54th time, sue.
House Republicans advanced a draft of legislation today that would grant Congress the authority to file a civil lawsuit against President Barack Obama for constitutional overreach. If the legislation passes, it would authorize the House to file civil action and seek injunctive relief against the president and other departmental heads for failing to act “in a manner consistent with that official’s duties under the Constitution and laws of the United States with respect to implementation of (including a failure to implement) any provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and title I and subtitle B of title II of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, including any amendment made by such provision.”
Just so we’re clear, Republicans want to sue the president for failing to implement the ACA (also known as Obamacare), the landmark achievement of the Obama administration that these same Republicans have attempted to undo or override in 54 successive failed votes.
The lawsuit is focused on President Obama’s decision to delay employer mandates — the fines for employers who fail to comply with the ACA and provide federally compliant healthcare coverage for employees — until 2015. That same delay was passed by Congressional vote with bipartisan support just days after Obama announced his decision.
For a party that has made tort reform a central pillar of its platform, this proposed lawsuit is head-scratchingly bizarre. John Boehner has, according to Politico, made a career out of railing against excessive and frivalous lawsuits; yet here he is, trying to sue the president for doing the job of the presidency. Even the mere advancement of this ridiculous legislation in the House has cost the American taxpayer: a back-of-the-envelope estimate suggests that the mere business of Congress costs about $2 million/day in-session.
The Affordable Care Act enjoys support among 47% of Americans, and those numbers continue to grow. To date, over 9 million Americans have received health insurance coverage through the bill; meanwhile, popularity of House Republicans is down to less than one-third of those polled due largely to their efforts to bring business in Washington to a veritable standstill through filibustering and other tactics.
In response to the proposed lawsuit, President Obama had this to say:
“You’re going to sue me for doing my job? OK. I mean, think about that, you’re going to use taxpayer money to sue me for doing my job, while you don’t do your job,” Obama said in remarks to political donors on Thursday in Austin, Texas.
White House officials are optimistic that if the legislation passes, any civil lawsuit would fail in court. House GOP appear to be hoping that this latest “Boehn-headed” move will improve their popularity in November mid-term elections with base Republican voters.