Sometimes, the most interesting part of a vote in Congress is what happens just before the vote. Today, for example, the House Rules Committee advanced a resolution authorizing Speaker Boehner’s (R-Ohio) anti-Obama lawsuit.
The panel voted along party lines to move forward with legal against Obama over his delay of the healthcare law’s employer mandate, which Republicans say was outside his authority as president.The House is expected to approve the lawsuit before lawmakers leave town next week for a five-week summer recess.
Away from Capitol Hill, as Greg Sargent reported this morning, Democrats are actually delighted with the GOP’s scheme, eager to seize on the lawsuit as a key election-year message.
But the funny part today came just before the House Rules Committee held their party-line vote on this misguided case.
As my colleague Nazanin Rafsanjani noted, Democrats recommended a series of measures intended to make the resolution authorizing the lawsuit more responsible. It led to a series of amendment votes:
Democrats asked for a provision that would require Republicans to regularly disclose how much this lawsuit was costing American taxpayers. Republicans said no.
Democrats asked for a conflict-of-interest measure that would prevent lawmakers from hiring lawyers for this case who lobby Congress. Republicans said no.
Democrats asked for a separate conflict-of-interest amendment that would stop Congress from hiring a law firm for this case that has a financial stake in the implementation of the ACA. Republicans said no.
Democrats asked for a disclosure requirement that said congressional contracts with outside counsel would be disclosed before they’re approved. Republicans said no.
Democrats asked for a measure that would require Republicans to explain where the public funds will come from that will pay for the lawsuit. Republicans said no.
There were 11 proposed improvements in all, Each were defeated with zero Republican votes.
That’s a shame. Most of these ideas actually seemed pretty reasonable.
But I think it’s pretty obvious that the lawsuit isn’t about being reasonable; it’s about playing a partisan game. Indeed, as we discussed earlier, if House Republicans were genuinely outraged by President Obama circumventing Congress, we wouldn’t see so many instances of House GOP leaders urging the president to circumvent Congress.