July 30th, 2014
01:49 PM ET
5 months ago

Democrats, Republicans argue over Obama lawsuit

Washington (CNN) - The House of Representatives is expected to move one step closer to suing President Barack Obama on Wednesday when it approves a resolution authorizing House Speaker John Boehner to file a lawsuit.

Republicans argue the President's executive actions to change Obamacare and make other policy decisions on his own were unconstitutional because it's Congress' jobs to make or change laws. But Democrats quickly moved to turn the debate against Republicans, saying their real desire is to impeach the President.

House Speaker John Boehner, who has repeatedly said he disagrees with those pushing impeachment, attempted to shut down that discussion on Tuesday. Insisting that Republicans have "no plans" and "no future plans" to impeach Obama, Boehner denounced the talk about impeachment as “a scam started by Democrats at the White House."

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But Democrats seized on polls showing a majority of Americans oppose any effort to remove the President, and aren't letting go of the issue.

Standing next to a massive poster of a cranky toddler on the House floor, California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier decried the GOP lawsuit as "a political stunt aimed at appeasing the fringe elements of their party who want to impeach the President."

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Obama tweaked Republicans a bit on Wednesday in Kansas City, Missouri, noting the House was about to leave Washington for a month, but "the main vote that they have scheduled for today is whether or not they decide to sue me for doing my job."

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The House Democrats' campaign arm has raised $7.6 million off of appeals to supporters that cited the GOP lawsuit and tied it to the threat of impeachment.

The chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rep. Steve Israel, defended the aggressive public push and pledged Democrats would continue it through the election in November.

"You bet we're going to run on a Congress that is just obsessed with lawsuits, suing the President, talking about impeaching him, instead of solutions for the middle class-talking about jobs and infrastructure," Israel told CNN.

Echoing Boehner's comments on Tuesday, Oregon Republican Greg Walden, the Chair of the House Republicans’ political operation, reiterated that "impeachment is not on table." And he issued a warning to fellow Republicans at a closed door meeting saying that any time the GOP raises the issue it only helps Democrats raise money and change the subject.

Republicans worked on Wednesday to steer the focus back to their argument that the President has repeatedly overreached and marginalized Congress.

Citing the Constitution, Maryland Rep. Andy Harris stressed the legislature was designed to be co-equal to the executive branch. “That is the system the founders gave us. That is why Congress is taking the President to court to stop his unlawful actions."

When Boehner announced last month that he would sue the President, he was following a course that many tea party members and conservatives were urging for months. Angered by a list of actions that President took without consulting Congress - changing or delaying various provisions of Obamacare, allowing so-called "Dreamers," or children of undocumented workers, to remain in the United States, and releasing five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay - they wanted to fight back.

Initially the Speaker indicated that the House would sue the President based on his move last summer to delay the Obamacare requirement that employers must provide health insurance for one year. While the House voted to do the same thing last July, Republicans argue they are protecting the legislative branch's authority to alter laws, and stem a trend used by the executive branch to re make policy without Congress' approval.

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After consulting legal experts, the House resolution expected to be approved late Wednesday was tweaked to give Boehner more flexibility. It specifies that the lawsuit can cite the administration’s implementation of any provision of Obamacare.

The House's Office of General Counsel will represent the institution in the lawsuit and the resolution gives it the authority to hire outside lawyers to finalize the legal strategy and file a complaint with a federal court. It also requires quarterly reports to be filed disclosing how much money the House is spending on legal fees.

It's unclear how quickly the formal paperwork will be filed in court to begin the legal process. But already many constitutional experts have raised doubts that the courts will take up the case. The legal burden will be on the House to present how it was damaged as an institution by the President's actions.


Filed under: 2014 • Impeachment • John Boehner • Obamacare • President Obama
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    ""impeachment is not on table.""

    The concept is "PLAUSIBLE deniability," you morons...not just "deniability."

    July 30, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "After consulting legal experts"

    These the same geniuses that are telling the GOP/Teatrolls that they are certain the House has standing and can prove cognizable harm?

    July 30, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. rick3807

    The lawyers will make a lot of money, the press will have an issue to cover and the taxpayer's will get the bill. Sounds pretty typical for the GOP/Tea Party.

    July 30, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. Bill

    I would like to thank the GOP for their continued assistance in helping Democrats outraise Republicans at every level. Keep up the good work! The GOP campaign strategy: sue, impeach, fire. The clown car rolls on. Any political strategist worth his salt would have told this happy gang of reprobates that impeachment, suing the president, etc. are losing propositions.

    July 30, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Hmmm...what is Boehner trying to tell us with that tie.....

    July 30, 2014 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. PaulCat

    This is why we pay them over $200,000.00 per year.
    This is hard work.
    Time for a five (5) week paid vacation
    ****GOP is one stupid party*****

    July 30, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. Montykoolaid

    This is just...oh my... that is absolutely the most stupid thing I have ever heard. Rather than focus on jobs or the middle class they are going to sue Obama? Are you kidding me?

    July 30, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. Smitty

    After winning BIGGEST LIAR OF THE YEAR, no one foreign or domestic can trust Obammy. He has shown nothing but ineptness. Don't cross this red line or I will hold my breath !!!!LOL

    July 30, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Chris..E.Al

    The leftist rebels should be sued but americans can do that when we vote also . I dont think id sue J.B. its going to work out ? Just watch cnn at all the fine leadership the rebels exhibit ?

    July 30, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. jpmichigan

    Do what one is elected to do? Do what one takes the oath of office states? Put down pen and phone and talk to each other, debate the problems and come to an solution for the best interest of the American people and political parties!!!!!

    July 30, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  11. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Sniffit says:
    July 30, 2014 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm
    Hmmm…what is Boehner trying to tell us with that tie…..

    That he's colorblind?☺️☺️☺️☺️ or that he protests too much??😳😳

    July 30, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. Lolo

    The tie is telling us he is sweet. Go ahead GOP/TP Klan. That racist streak is showing more and more. Like I said before a leopard does not change his spots. They all need to be voted out wasting time and money on nonsense, just like with Clinton. They need to stop being the kettle calling the pot black, because they really have some screwed up brains inside their racist heads. They try to be secretive with their holier than thou thoughts, but they get caught every time with their pants down and then they want to call on God for forgiveness. Such devils the GOP/TP Klan. There is no difference between the two.

    July 30, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. biodome

    Hey republicans fyi as a gun-owning 35-year old Christian white male in the Midwest you know all your Obama hatred has made sure I will always vote against you. Obama saved the economy, and my stocks have tripled since '08. What do you do other than whine and complain? That's what I thought :)

    July 30, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    The whole idea of "trickle down" would by definition amount to a transfer of wealth, which conservatives oppose.

    The whole idea of "trickle down" would by definition amount to a transfer of wealth, which conservatives oppose.

    Most of the stimulus went towards tax cuts of one form or another, which conservatives claim should have stimulated economic growth.
    --–
    Conservatives oppose the FORCED transfer of wealth (usually via punitive taxation), a.k.a. Robin Hood redistribution. When you rob Peter to pay Paul, you'll always have a friend in Paul, eh?

    And you clamor that the stimulus was such a grand success and at the same time say that most of the stimulus was tax cuts, you're saying that tax cuts arte stimulative. Thanks for pointing that out.
    --–
    Conservatives oppose the FORCED transfer of wealth (usually via punitive taxation), a.k.a. Robin Hood redistribution. When you rob Peter to pay Paul, you'll always have a friend in Paul, eh?

    And you clamor that the stimulus was such a grand success and at the same time say that most of the stimulus was tax cuts, you're saying that tax cuts arte stimulative. Thanks for pointing that out.
    ----------------------------------------–
    Bush's first round of tax cuts reduced the taxes for the wealthy, but effectively raised them on the middle class by not adjusting the AMT or the so called marriage tax. Bush said the middle class could make up for increases by taking advantage of the new deductions for your investments. No can do when you're living paycheck to paycheck.

    I did not post that the tax cuts were beneficial to the economy. The cuts only increased debt at the state level in many places where the states had applied the stimulus funds towards tax cuts [revenue reductions] without spending cuts. Republicans have been screaming where are the jobs ever since. Do you realize that your posts suggests that you feel that the Stimulus was, well, economically stimulative? Read that last part again.

    July 30, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "Conservatives oppose the FORCED transfer of wealth (usually via punitive taxation), a.k.a. Robin Hood redistribution. When you rob Peter to pay Paul, you'll always have a friend in Paul, eh?"

    No they don't. If you think loading the tax code with special treatment for the wealthy and corporations isn't a forced redistribution of the nation's wealth upwards, then you're smoking Carpet Fresh.

    July 30, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    I did not post that the tax cuts were beneficial to the economy. The cuts only increased debt at the state level in many places where the states had applied the stimulus funds towards tax cuts [revenue reductions] without spending cuts. Republicans have been screaming where are the jobs ever since. Do you realize that your posts suggests that you feel that the Stimulus was, well, economically stimulative? Read that last part again.
    --------–
    Not nearly as economically stimulative as it could have been. Consider $800 Billion... you could have given nearly $3000 to every man, woman, and child in the country, the VAST majority of whom would have gone out and spent it. THAT'S the whole demand thing you're on record as saying is what drives growth. Or are you changing your tune?

    Instead, what we got was major league payoffs to Obama's union buddies and other campaign donors while John Q. Citizen got a few table scraps in the way of a few extra bucks in the weekly paycheck.

    July 30, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    I did not post that the tax cuts were beneficial to the economy. The cuts only increased debt at the state level in many places where the states had applied the stimulus funds towards tax cuts [revenue reductions] without spending cuts. Republicans have been screaming where are the jobs ever since. Do you realize that your posts suggests that you feel that the Stimulus was, well, economically stimulative? Read that last part again.
    --––
    Not nearly as economically stimulative as it could have been. Consider $800 Billion... you could have given nearly $3000 to every man, woman, and child in the country, the VAST majority of whom would have gone out and spent it. THAT'S the whole demand thing you're on record as saying is what drives growth. Or are you changing your tune?

    Instead, what we got was major league payoffs to Obama's union buddies and other campaign donors while John Q. Citizen got a few table scraps in the way of a few extra bucks in the weekly paycheck.
    =================================================================
    Fail. How could "union buddies" get paid off when conservatives constantly rant about "where were the shovel ready jobs"? Nahp. You need to get your lies re-aligned. You cannot have it both ways. Most of the money went towards tax cuts, while a significant chunk went towards simply balancing state budgets.

    All in all, how the vast majority of the money was spent by the individual states was completely up to the discretion of the governors of the individual states. Your payoff conspiracy is a completely fabricated lie.

    July 30, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "Instead, what we got was major league payoffs to Obama's union buddies and other campaign donors while John Q. Citizen got a few table scraps in the way of a few extra bucks in the weekly paycheck."

    Do you deny that our infrastructure is in a shambles and needs serious work? Do you deny that major civil engineering firms have done huge studies of this problem and repeatedly confirmed that it exists? Or are you just mad that it's all necessary, costs money and happens to be an industry that is largely unionized and well, you just hate unions so you're going to be made about the fact that they're involved in anything no matter what?

    July 30, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. Indepman

    Maybe the help he's looking for is somewhere in the 50 or so house passed bills (most bi-partisan) that Harry refuses to bring to the floor of the Senate for a vote. Obama doesn't call out Harry so it must be that the Pres prefers the blame game to accomplishing anything for the citizens of this country.

    July 30, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Thomas

    Sue me once , shame on you , Sue me twice shame on you again !

    Nobody ever sued GW Bush ?

    July 30, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |