A different suit in Washington
By Seymour Klierly
Already six years into his time at the White House, President Obama probably thought he had seen the majority of suits in Washington. However, after repeated rebukes by President Obama to requests to work with Congress instead of through executive action, House Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, announced the full House of Representatives will start the process to sue the President. This lawsuit is the latest round of political bad blood and showmanship and may be just the appetizer for a constituency that is craving a full entrÃ©e.
Speaker Boehner intends for the House to vote on a resolution that authorizes the House to file suit in objection to the way President Obama twice made changes to the Affordable Care Act, without authorization by Congress. According to a release by Boehner’s Office, “The president’s unilateral actions on the health care law’s employer mandate in 2013 and 2014 will likely be the focus of the litigation brought by the House. There are many examples of executive overreach by the president, but his actions on the health care law are arguably the ones that give the House the best chance of success in the courts.”
Critics and defenders of President Obama have both questioned whether this action is the best for House Republicans and members of Congress. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is against the action, saying on Fox News, “You don’t bring a lawsuit to a gunfight,” and “There’s no place for lawyers on the front lines.” She went on to say that, “We should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment.”
President Obama’s chief defender in Congress, Senator Harry Reid, D-NV, took to the Senate floor to denounce the lower chamber’s efforts. “House members would rather waste dollars than accept the fact that their constituents are benefiting from healthcare reform,” Reid said. “This is a phony trial that will come up. It’s a show trial. It’s what Republicans want. If that’s what they want, they should talk to Judge Judy,” he said. “I think she would throw this case out in half a second.”
While calls to impeach the President have started among some conservatives, the Speaker is trying to avoid being backed into that corner. He is creatively trying to find a way forward to show the American public Republicans are not backing down from fighting the administration while avoiding messy impeachment proceedings. He knows even if House Republicans successfully passed an impeachment resolution, Harry Reid’s Democrat majority would dutifully vote it down.
During press availability in Virginia, President Obama reacted to the lawsuit. “Their big idea has been to sue me. That’s what they’re spending time on — a political stunt that wastes America’s time and taxpayer dollars,” he said. Whether the lawsuit is truly a stunt, circus or serious action, the Speaker and the House of Representatives is now wandering into roads less traveled in search of a hearty meal.