House Republicans on Friday filed a long-anticipated lawsuit against the White House, alleging the Obama administration abused its power by making unilateral changes to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The lawsuit comes just hours after President Obama enacted sweeping changes to the immigration system, enraging conservative lawmakers and setting the stage for an all-out war between the Republican party and the president over the limits of his executive authority. The legal action threatens not only the president's healthcare overhaul, but could change the power of executive authority forever.
"Time after time, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and re-write federal law on his own without a vote of 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 as well. The House has an obligation to stand up for the Constitution, and that is exactly why we are pursuing this course of action,” Boehner said in a press release.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi slammed the lawsuit Friday as "the howls of impeachment-hungry extremists."
"After scouring Washington for months, Republicans have finally found a TV lawyer to file their meritless lawsuit," Pelosi said in a statement, noting the lawsuit was filed by Republicans' third attorney after two other law firms backed out. "While the American people want Congress to get serious about creating good-paying jobs and strengthening the middle class, House Republicans are paying $500-an-hour in taxpayer money to sue the President of the United States."
At the crux of the lawsuit is the House’s assertion that the president unlawfully delayed the employer mandate and illegally gave federal funds to insurance companies through the program’s so-called "cost sharing" program.
In 2013, the president delayed the requirement that employers with 50-99 employees provide insurance for full time employees until 2015; seven months later, he delayed it again until 2016. Republicans say this move -- without the approval of Congress -- was an abuse of the president's executive authority.
They also say Obamacare's subsidies -- federal funds that help low-income Americans fund their healthcare premiums -- violate Congress's "power of the purse."
House Republicans said Friday that if their lawsuit is successful, low-income Americans wouldn't lose their insurance, but insurance companies simply would be forced to pay the full costs of the policy, something that would likely hike health care costs across the board.