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House Votes To OK Lawsuit Against Obama

NPR icon by Alan Greenblatt
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J. Scott Applewhite

The House voted Wednesday to authorize a lawsuit against President Obama, claiming that he has overstepped the limits of his executive authority.

The vote to allow Speaker John Boehner to sue Obama was 225 to 201. Five Republicans voted no, while no Democrats voted in favor of pursuing the lawsuit.

Republicans say that Obama exceeded his constitutional authority by unilaterally deciding to delay the employer mandate for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Boehner said that Obama shouldn't be able to pick and choose which laws he will faithfully execute.

"By circumventing Congress, the president's actions have marginalized the role that the American people play in creating the laws that govern them," said Texas Republican Pete Sessions, who chairs the House Rules Committee. "Specifically, the president has waived work requirements for welfare recipients, unilaterally changed immigration laws, released the Gitmo Five without properly notifying Congress — which is the law — and ignored the statutory requirements of the Affordable Care Act."

Democrats decried the GOP's move. The lawsuits may serve to energize constituents of both major parties — or at least be useful for fundraising appeals, as NPR's S.V. Date reports.

Democrats have attempted to cast it as part of the broader partisan effort to undermine the president. "The lawsuit is a drumbeat pushing members of the Republican Party to impeachment," said New York Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter.

Boehner denied his caucus has any plans to impeach the president.

Obama, as he has for weeks, dismissed the vote as a "political stunt.

"The main vote that they've scheduled for today is whether or not they decide to sue me for doing my job," Obama said earlier Wednesday.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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