President Obama was in Kansas City, Missouri, this morning, speaking at the Uptown Theater where he was, to put it mildly, fired up and ready to go. The full video is not yet available online, but the transcript is, and it shows an energetic president feeling a sense of urgency.
“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,” the president said. “Just come on. Come on and help out a little bit. Stop being mad all the time. Stop just hating all the time. Come on. Let’s get some work done together.”
He seemed quite sincere. GOP lawmakers readied their response just a few hours later.
Republicans pushed a divided House Wednesday toward a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of deliberately exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Obama and other Democrats derided the effort as a stunt aimed at tossing political red meat to conservative voters.Just a day before lawmakers were to begin a five-week summer recess, debate over the lawsuit underscored the harshly partisan tone that has dominated the current Congress almost from its start in January 2013.
The debate is still underway on the House floor right now, though it’s expected to pass the Republican-led chamber.
In case anyone’s forgotten, after months of rhetoric about a lawless, out-of-control White House, GOP leaders decided to sue – over a deadline for an obscure Affordable Care Act provision.
Making matters slightly worse, the Republicans are suing to require the Obama administration to immediately implement a policy the GOP lawmakers themselves do not actually want to see implemented.
No wonder the president seems so eager to talk about this.
From his remarks in Kansas City:
“[T]hink about this: they have announced that they’re going to sue me for taking executive actions to help people. So they’re mad because I’m doing my job. And, by the way, I’ve told them. I said, ‘I’d be happy to do it with you. So the only reason I’m doing it on my own is because you don’t do anything. But if you want, let’s work together.’“I mean, everybody recognizes this is a political stunt, 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. When they have taken 50 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, that was time that could have been spent working constructively to help you on some things. And, by the way, you know who is paying for this suit they’re going to file? You. You’re paying for it. And it’s estimated that by the time the thing was done, I would have already left office. So it’s not a productive thing to do.”
If GOP leaders thought this suit would put the White House on the defensive, they miscalculated badly. Republicans handed Obama a campaign issue, which he’s eager to run with.
Update: The House voted this afternoon to proceed with the lawsuit, following a 225-201 vote that does not need Senate approval. Every Democrat voted against the measure, as did five Republicans. The full roll call is here.