Republicans in the House of Representatives filed their long-delayed lawsuit against the Obama administration Friday over the Affordable Care Act.
The lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia was filed against the secretaries of Health and Human Services and the Treasury Department and focuses on two key aspects of the healthcare law.
It alleges that the administration unlawfully postponed a provision that requires large businesses to pay a penalty if they don’t offer basic health insurance to their workers. It also challenges what Republicans say is an estimated $175 billion in payments to insurance companies over the next 10 years. The money stems from a cost-sharing provision under the law.
‘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,’ House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement. ‘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.’
The lawsuit comes a day after Obama issued an executive order halting deportations for five million undocumented immigrants, a move that riled Republicans in the House and Senate. Republicans vowed to respond to Obama’s action but the party appeared divided over what to do and when to do it.
Boehner had been threatening to sue Obama over the health care law since the summer. The Republican-controlled House passed a resolution in July authorizing the chamber to take Obama to court over his use of executive authority in implementing the health care law, the signature bill of his presidency. But the Republican legal effort was slowed because of difficulty finding lawyers willing to take the case.
Earlier this week, Republicans hired Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University professor. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., dismissed Turley as a ‘TV lawyer.’ Turley sometimes appears on cable news networks as a legal analyst during controversial cases.
‘After scouring Washington for months, Republicans have finally found a TV lawyer to file their meritless lawsuit,’ Pelosi said in a statement. ‘The fact is, this lawsuit is a bald-face attempt to achieve what Republicans have been unable to achieve through the political process. The legislative branch cannot simply sue because they disagree with the way a law passed by a different Congress has been implemented.’