This past week proved contentious for Republicans in Congress. Allies returned to the dark side, Democrats sided with a mortal enemy, and a split in the caucus over how to best handle the disastrous Iran nuclear deal boiled over into a very public battle.
Amid the power struggle, the Republicans in the House came out ahead—at least as far as Obamacare is concerned. On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that House Republicans have standing to sue the Obama Administration over the Administration’s handling of the Obamacare rollout. The House sued Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew of both spending unappropriated money to implement the new policies, and effectively amending the employer mandate without the approval of Congress.
The court ruled that the House has standing to pursue its claims relating to appropriations, but not those related to Lew’s implementation of the statute. More via Reuters:
Collyer did not rule on the merits of the claims, only on the administration’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the issue of standing, a requirement in U.S. law whereby plaintiffs have to show they have been directly harmed.
On that issue, “the constitutional trespass alleged in this case would inflict a concrete, particular harm upon the House for which it has standing to seek redress in this court,” Collyer wrote in her opinion.
The Department of Justice will appeal the court’s ruling, said spokesman Patrick Rodenbush. An appeal could further delay proceedings on the merits of the claims.
White House spokeswoman Jennifer Friedman called the decision unprecedented.
“This case is just another partisan attack, this one, paid for by the taxpayers; and we believe the courts will ultimately dismiss it,” she said in a statement.
Speaker Boehner made a statement:
I was pleased that yesterday, a federal court ruled that the House does, in fact, have standing to challenge one of the president’s unilateral actions with regard to ObamaCare.
“I cannot overstate how big a victory this is for limited government and our first principles. Time and again, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and to re-write laws on his own without a vote of the Congress. That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work. If this president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to do so as well.
“This is an unprecedented challenge by the House, and one the administration tried to avoid at all costs. So this victory sends a strong message that no one – especially no president – is above being held accountable to the Constitution.”
House leadership is also mulling a similar lawsuit over the Iran nuclear deal.
You can read the full decision here.
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