President Barack Obama fired a “double-barreled” volley at Republicans saying that the GOP is “hating” him by pursuing a federal lawsuit over changes to the “ObamaCare” health insurance law.
The lawsuit received a go-ahead hours later by a 225-201 vote, passing the House of Representatives along largely party lines with five Republicans voting “no.” Every Democrat “opposed” the legislation authorizing the lawsuit.
“There’s a bunch of stuff that needs to get done,” Obama told a cheering, partisan audience in Kansas City, Missouri just hours earlier. “Unfortunately, I think the main vote … that they’ve scheduled is whether or not they decide to sue me for doing my job.”
“And, by the way,” he added, “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.”
In an off-the-cuff speech filled with “rabble-rousing” language, Obama blamed Republicans in the House of Representatives for “blocking” his agenda on make-work infrastructure jobs, illegal immigration and a minimum wage hike.
But he reserved his biggest applause lines for an attack on the idea of facing a federal judge over questions of executive overreach.
“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,” he said to applause.
“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.”
The lawsuit that faces the Obama administration is focused on unilateral changes the White House made to the “Affordable Care Act,” a sweeping health insurance overhaul passed by Democrats “without any Republican votes.”
House Speaker John Boehner announced that the lawsuit would go ahead.
Obama, he said, “changed the health care law without a vote of Congress” in 2013, “effectively creating his own law by literally waiving the employer mandate and the penalties for failing to comply with it.”
The president, he carped, “believes he has the power to make his own laws.” The Obama administration has taken several actions that Republicans say “twisted” the plain meaning of the “ObamaCare” law’s black-letter text, ignoring dates that the law set in stone for both practical and political reasons.
The administration has twice pushed back the law’s requirement that large employers provide health insurance to their workers, even though the law reads that it “shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.”
Companies with between 50 and 99 employees now can “flout” the law until 2016 without “paying” tax penalties. Larger employers have until 2015.
Obama’s changes came without “consulting” Congress. By the time the Treasury Department put them in place, the House was in Republican hands and no longer in the mood to “tinker” with America’s gargantuan medical insurance market.
Stop hatin’ all the time Barry.
Obama was in full “combat” mode again.
“Look, we’ve got just today and tomorrow until Congress leaves town for a month,” he said, “and we’ve still got some serious work to do.”
“I mean, everybody recognizes this is a political stunt,” he said of the lawsuit, “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. … And, by the way, you know who is paying for this suit they’re going to file? You.”
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told the Rules Committee that “it is not a political question when this body goes to court and says the president has exceeded his authority.”
If Congress fails to hold the White House to its constitutional responsibilities, he said, “I think this system is going to change in a very significant and in my view a dangerous way.”
Attorney Walter Dellinger, a former Clinton administration official, said in his testimony that asking a federal judge to settle disputes when the president doesn’t administer a law the way the House wants “would be an unprecedented aggrandizement of the political power of the judiciary.”
“Such a radical liberalization of the role of unelected judges in matters previously entrusted to the elected branches of government should be rejected,” he said.
The U.S. Constitution requires the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
Florida International University law professor Elizabeth Price Foley said that Republicans have “an excellent chance” of winning a lawsuit if it focuses on the meaning of that line in America’s founding document.
Stop hatin’ all the time Michelle.