By Patricia L Johnson
“House GOP File Lawsuit Against Obama”. The headline can’t help but grab the attention of the average reader while the first line of the story reads as follows:
House Republicans on Friday filed a long-awaited lawsuit accusing President Barack Obama of overstepping his executive authority when implementing his signature health care law.
Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but it appears to me this story is trying to tell readers that the Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives filed a lawsuit against the President of the United States on November 21, 2014.
That’s not quite the way I read it, but you be the judge.
Following is a copy of the title page of Case No. 14-cv-01967 filed by Jonathan Turley, Lead Attorney, on November 21, 2014, in the District Court, for the District of Columbia.
While the United States House of Representatives is filing suit against Sylvia Mathews Burwell, and Jacob L Lew in their capacities as Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and Secretary of the United States Department of the Treasury, I fail to see the name Barack H. Obama, President of the United States. listed as a defendant to this action taken by the U.S. House.
Aside from the entire world thinking the U.S. House of Representatives is suing the POTUS, the resolution that was sponsored by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and passed the house on July 30, 2014 by a vote of 225 Yeas to 201 Nays (Roll No. 468), states:
H.Res.676 – Providing for authority to initiate litigation for actions by the President or other executive branch officials inconsistent with their duties under the Constitution of the United States.
The Republicans voted to “initiate litigation for actions by the President”, so why is the President’s name clearly missing from the list of defendants? Could it be he did nothing that could even remotely be construed as inconsistent with his duties under the Constitution?
When legislation is introduced into the House it goes to various committees for review, discussion and a vote. In this instance, the resolution was referred to the Rules Committee in the U.S. House which consists of a total of nine Republicans and four Democrats. With a 2:1 ratio of Republicans to Democrats, it’s not difficult to determine how we came up with a vote of seven YEAS and four NAYS (with two members not voting) from the Rules Committee. A simple majority of members present was all that was needed to pass. The final report issued by the Rules Committee is H. Rept. 113-561, which was then voted on by the full House.
Included in the legislation were several amendments.
· Require disclosure of cost of lawsuit each week.
· Avoid conflict of interest by prohibiting hiring anyone that lobbies for or has any financial stake in the ACA.
· Require lawsuit to be paid for with Benghazi Select Committee budget funds.
· Require House’s lawyers to explain likelihood of success in lawsuit and overcoming “legal obstacles presented by Supreme Court precedent”.
· Require explanation of how the lawsuit will be funded and which programs will be cut.
There were several more amendments filed and each and every amendment, no matter how sound, was voted down by the Republican majority on the Rules Committee.
Short of going out and obtaining signatures from the millions of persons currently insured under the Affordable Care Act, stating they no longer want to participate, Republicans in this country have done everything humanely possible to have the PPACA ruled unconstitutional. The fact the U.S. House has voted 53 separate times to repeal the law sort of gives you the impression they’re not real fond of it, but enough is enough.
There have been so many lawsuits filed, by so many different organizations, states, etc. that it would be almost impossible to count, but aside from putting more money in the pockets of the attorneys involved, what good has it done? The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is still here and still providing healthcare to millions.
If there are any lawsuits that should be filed in this country, it’s for “We the People” to file a lawsuit against the Republican members of the United States House of Representatives, for not doing their job. This is the same party that has fought to put an end to ‘frivolous” lawsuits for years.
I personally would not hesitate to call this most recent act by the Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives a frivolous lawsuit if it wasn’t for the fact that this particular legal action is going to cost you, the American public, millions if not billions of dollars.
© 2014 Patricia L Johnson