House Votes to Sue Obama for 'King-Like Authority'
House lawmakers voted 225-201 Wednesday to sue President Barack Obama, saying he has exceeding his authority by deciding unilaterally how to implement the Affordable Care Act and other federal laws.
The measure did not receive support from any Democrats, and five Republicans voted against it.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the president has acted with "king-like authority" in selectively enforcing and changing laws as he wishes, and in so doing has set a dangerous precedent for future presidents.
Specifically, Republicans say Obama has exceeded his constitutional powers in a wide range of areas, including education, immigration, and foreign policy.
They cited his decision to release five Taliban members from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl without consulting Congress as just one example.
Republicans also object to Obama's decision to twice delay the so-called "employer mandate" provision in the Affordable Care Act. It requires companies with 50 or more employees working at least 30 hours weekly to offer health care coverage or pay fines.
The requirement was set to take effect this year, but the administration is now giving companies with 50-99 employees until 2016 to comply.
"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?" Boehner challenged fellow congressmen on the House floor Wednesday.
But Democrats say the president has acted legally and simply used the authority he has as chief executive.
On the road in Missouri Wednesday, the president dismissed the suit and accused Republicans of wasting taxpayers' time.
"This is a political stunt," he told a crowd in Kansas City. "But it's worse than that because every vote they're taking like that means a vote they're not taking to actually help you."
Earlier in the day White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the suit "frivolous."
Democrats have also attacked the lawsuit vote as a veiled attempt at impeachment. But legal experts say it would take at least one and a half to two years for the suit to wind through the federal judicial system and the president leaves office in January of 2017.
It's also unclear if the suit will even survive. Federal courts do not like to intervene in disputes between the White House and Congress, and the House will also have to prove that it's been harmed by the president's actions.
Republicans have not set out a timetable for actually filing the suit.