The House Just Challenged President Obama in a More Extreme Way Than We've Ever Seen

The House Just Challenged President Obama in a More Extreme Way Than We've Ever Seen

The news: The Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday evening voted to sue President Obama over Obamacare.

This is historic.

Without the support of any Democrats, the House of Representatives voted 225-201 to take legal against the president for allegedly exceeding his constitutional powers. 

This is the first time in U.S. history that Congress has filed a lawsuit against a president and could foreshadow a new weapon in Washington's partisan battles.

Due to Obama's decision to postpone certain mandates within the Affordable Care Act without congressional approval, Republicans claim he violated the Constitution.


The GOP has harshly criticized Obama on recent unilateral actions taken to advance his agenda, from executive orders on immigration policy to same-sex partner benefits to climate change. 

Obamacare has been an especially sore subject, with the House voting (wasting time?) 50+ times to outright repeal the law.

Will anything come of this? Lyle Denniston of the National Constitution Center writes, "Time after time, when members of Congress have sued in the courts, because the Executive Branch did something that they believe frustrated the will of Congress, they have been met at the door of the courthouse with a polite refusal to let them in." 

"We're in uncharted waters, and I think any judicial court would want to avoid weighing in," Tara Grove, a William and Mary law professor, told the Wall Street Journal. "I'd be very surprised if the court grants standing."

Vox notes, "The courts also tend to be skeptical of these suits because Congress has constitutional means by which it can check the president's power on its own — by passing a new law, using the power of the purse to cut off funding, or through impeachment."

So, in essence, House Republicans are throwing a tremendous hissy-fit. 

The Obamacare law has seen increasing opposition among the general public this year, the first year it has been fully operable. Still, despite having voters on their side, Republicans have failed to provide any tangible health care policy alternatives or tweaks — except votes to outright repeal the law, and, now, to sue the president.

In one study, about three quarters of self-identified conservatives who had purchased a health care plan under Obamacare was actually pleased with it.

As Mic's Matt Connolly reports, the rate of uninsured young adults has declined by 28%, and 58% of people who signed up for Obamacare say they're better off. It all adds up to millions of Americans who finally have health insurance — thanks, maybe in some small part, to a bunch of commercials run by people who didn't want them insured.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to remove language that was used without attribution to Vox, BBC, and Reuters. We apologize to our readers for this violation of our basic editorial standards. Mic has put in place new mechanisms, including plagiarism detection software, to ensure that this does not happen in the future.

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Chris Miles

Chris has worked for media outlets including the Associated Press and Stars and Stripes. He worked with the Clinton Foundation, the United Nations, and with the Kentucky state legislature. He holds a master's degree in political science from the University of Louisville, and a BA in journalism and political science from the University of Kentucky. He is originally from Lexington, Ky. Kentucky basketball occupies a majority of his free time.

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