The answer is pretty simple
Today the House GOP sued the Obama Administration in federal court over the Administration’s decision to make changes to the version of the Affordable Care Act that Congress passed.
The one-two punch from Boehner marks a new era of tension between Republicans who will officially take over Congress in January, and the President who has signaled that despite his party’s losses in the midterms, he plans to proceed with his agenda without GOP cooperation.
After two Washington firms pulled out of commitments to represent the House in recent months, Boehner hired George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley earlier this week. Turley is an expert on constitutional law and has appeared on multiple television networks as a legal analyst.
Boehner and other top congressional Republican leaders are also contemplating a filing a separate lawsuit challenging the president’s authority to take executive action to give 5 million immigrants temporary status.
This move has been coming since July, when the chamber passed House Resolution 676, which authorized the lawsuit. Although lawmakers are already being criticized for not taking immediate action to stop Obama’s executive order on immigration, there’s a good reason for the delay.
In order to go forward with their Obamacare lawsuit, the House had to pass a resolution authorizing it to do so. H. Res. 676 states that [emphasis mine] “the Speaker is authorized to initiate or intervene…with respect to implementation of any provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, title I or subtitle B of title II of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, including any amendment made by such provision, or any other related provision of law, including a failure to implement any such provision.”
If the House chooses to take legal action against the President over executive amnesty, they’ll have to pass a resolution authorizing the lawsuit after the new laws go into effect in January. It’s unclear whether or not Speaker Boehner could even rally enough support behind this kind of move, seeing as how some House Republicans want to try to find a way to thwart the President by pulling funding from the final spending bill of the year. (This will take some creativity—and a change in law—considering USCIS is self-funded.)
The moral of the story for Republicans is, it’s time to decide how we want to tackle these orders right now. If we decide on a lawsuit, we’ll have to pass a new resolution that specifically authorizes it. If we decide to tackle this via spending provisions, we’ll also have to commit to a serious change in the law, which, considering we’re dealing with a split caucus, might be more than we’re ready to take on.
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