GOP wants to make it easier to sue the president

US President Barack Obama walks from the West Wing to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House ob March 11, 2014 in Washington, DC.
US President Barack Obama walks from the West Wing to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House ob March 11, 2014 in Washington, DC.

Legislation that would make it easier for Congress to sue the president cleared the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The measure would require the Justice Department to notify Congress when a federal official -- including the White House -- changes how a federal law is enforced, NBC News' Frank Thorp reported. The measure would also allow lawmakers who are worried their laws aren't being fully executed by the president to file a lawsuit directly to judges on a federal district court and go straight to the Supreme Court, according to the Washington Post. 

The GOP-backed bill passed the House 233-181, with five moderate Democrats siding with every voting Republican. The bill won’t go anywhere. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dubbed it “dead on arrival” in the upper chamber of Congress.

It’s the latest effort aimed at uniting the splintered Republican Party in its opposition to the president, on the heels of a big win in Floridia by an anti-Obama candidate, ahead of the midterm elections. 

Republicans have said the legislation doesn't specifically target President Obama, but a committee report on the bill reads, according to NBC News, "Instead of working with Congress to amend the law, the President simply has refused to enforce the law on a range of issues including immigration, education policy, and ObamaCare, waiving requirements plainly contained in the law and instructing officials to refrain from enforcing provisions."

Ahead of the vote, Republicans slammed the president.

"If a president can change some laws, can he change all laws?" South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, a sponsor of the legislation, said. "Can he change election laws? Can he change discrimination laws? Are there any laws under your theory that he actually has to enforce?"

Gowdy also criticized Obama for not strictly enforcing immigration laws. In June 2012, Obama announced that undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States at a young age wouldn't be targeted for deportations. 

Republicans have particularly criticized the president for not deporting young immigrants, often called “DREAMers,” named for the bill that would allow them a path to residency if they spend time in higher education or the military.

The White House swatted back at Republicans on Wednesday.

“This runs contrary to our most deeply held values as Americans, and asks law enforcement officials to treat these DREAMers the same way as they would treat those with criminal records, those with violent criminal records,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. “We urge House Republicans to focus on actually fixing our broken immigration system to provide opportunity for all instead of legislation designed to deny opportunity to those who are Americans in every way, in their hearts, in their minds, in their experiences in every way but on paper.”

Opposing Obama may be a winning strategy for the GOP in the November midterms. A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 48% of voters are less likely to vote for a candidate who is a solid supporter of the Obama administration. Just 26% said they're more likely to vote for that candidate.