House Republicans on Wednesday passed a resolution authorizing them to sue President Barack Obama for what they call an overreach of constitutional authority.
The resolution passed the Republican-controlled House in a party-line vote of 225-201 on Wednesday. All but five Republicans voted for the measure, while all 199 Democrats voted against it.
The coming lawsuit will accuse Obama of exceeding his constitutional authority as president by making unilateral changes to the Affordable Care Act — specifically, in twice delaying implementation of the law’s so-called employer mandate.
House Speaker John Boehner has hinted at the lawsuit for a little more than a month. Republicans have argued that Obama has continually overstepped his constitutional authority through executive actions on Obamacare and other areas, including his 2012 order to ease deportations of some young undocumented immigrants.
Late last month, Boehner sent a memo to the House Republican conference, informing them of his plans to file legislation in July that would allow the House of Representatives to file suit to compel Obama to “faithfully execute the laws of our country.” Almost three weeks ago, Boehner’s officereleased a draft resolution focusing on the employer mandate as the basis of the lawsuit.
Obama on Wednesday dismissed the lawsuit as a “political stunt,” and he playfully urged congressional Republicans to work with him and “stop just hatin’ all the time.” He said he takes unilateral action because he can’t wait for Congress to act in certain areas, including equal pay and student-loan interest rates.
“So some of the things we’re doing without Congress are making a difference, but we could do so much more if Congress would just come on and help out a little bit,” Obama said during the Wednesday speech in Kansas City. “Just come on. Come on and help out a little bit. Stop being mad all the time. Stop just hatin’ all the time.”
The White House and some Democrats have suggested the lawsuit could be a prelude to the House eventually attempting to impeach Obama. But Boehner and others have said those claims originated from a “scam” for Democrats to raise money ahead of the midterm elections.
The Obama administration first delayed a year ago the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act, which requires most businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health insurance meeting certain minimum criteria — or pay a penalty of $2,000 per worker.
In February, the administration announced it will delay the mandate’s penalty another year for small businesses with 50-99 workers. It said it would also adjust some of the requirements for larger employers.
Under the new Treasury Department rules, businesses with 100 employees or more must offer coverage to at least 70% of full-time workers in 2015 and 95% in 2016, or face a penalty.