The House passed a resolution Wednesday authorizing a lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama's
constitutional authority to delay the employer mandate in the federal healthcare reform law
. The measure was adopted on a 225-201 largely party-line vote.
Republicans argued that the unprecedented move was necessary in order to reign in repeated abuses of power by the Democratic president. “The president has gone too far,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), chair of the House Committee on Rules, during the floor debate. “Rather than faithfully execute the law as the constitution requires, I believe that the president has selectively enforced the law in some instances, ignored the law in other instances, and in a few cases unilaterally attempted to change the law altogether.”
But Democrats lambasted the resolution as a political stunt designed to appease the most conservative elements of the GOP base. They suggested that it was merely a prelude to an effort to impeach the president. Democrats also mocked Republicans for threatening to take the Obama administration to court for failing to enforce a law that the GOP-led House has repeatedly voted to repeal.
“This lawsuit will be a monumental waste of time and energy and funds,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), the ranking member of the rules committee. “It seems that they can spare no expense attempting to take healthcare away from millions of Americans.”
Republicans were not united in backing the lawsuit. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) decried the proposal as a “show” in comments
to the The Hill
newspaper. “Why not impeach instead of wasting $1 million to $2 million of the taxpayers' money?” Jones said.
No Democrats supported the resolution. Follow Paul Demko on Twitter: @MHpdemko