House Republicans are expected to formally approve their lawsuit against President Obama this week.
“President Obama has overstepped his constitutional authority — and it is the responsibility of the House of Representatives to defend the Constitution,” Speaker of the House John Boehner wrote in a USA Today op-ed published Monday previewing the vote on the lawsuit.
The Ohio Republican is accusing Obama of going too far on a variety of issues, including on “job-destroying energy regulations, releasing the ‘Taliban 5’ from Guantanamo without notice and waiving the work requirements in welfare.”
But Boehner explained that the Republican lawsuit against Obama focuses on how the White House has twice extended the employer mandate in Obamacare. “We believe this targeted lawsuit offers the best chance of success,” he wrote.
“Congress makes the laws; the president executes them,” Boehner wrote. “That is the system the Founders gave us. This is not about executive orders. Every president issues executive orders. Most of them, though, do so within the law.
The White House has dismissed the lawsuit as a distraction. “We see House Republicans giddy about the prospect of passing legislation along party-line vote to pursue a taxpayer-funded lawsuit against the president of the United States merely for doing his job,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said last week. “That is an indication that House Republicans don’t have a clue about the priorities of the American people.”
But while Democrats accuse Republicans of a political stunt, the Obama administration also finds itself accused of ginning up the issue of impeachment to energize their base and raise money ahead of the midterm elections.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has called on Congress to impeach President Obama instead of suing him, but conservative lawmakers have dismissed the idea as both politically bad and not practical.
Last week, senior Obama aide Dan Pfeiffer warned Republicans not to “discount” the possibility of impeachment as a possibility. And while Palin, who has been out of office since 2009, is the highest-profile Republican to call for impeachment, Earnest still argued last week that “there are senior members of the Republican political party or certainly prominent voices in the Republican Party who are calling for exactly that.”
The reasoning for the White House’s emphasis on the unlikely scenario of impeachment was clear over the weekend.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wrote in an email to supporters that “Boehner’s lawsuit could lead to impeachment hearings.”
“There’s no doubt now: the fate of Obama’s presidency is at stake. We need to throw everything we’ve got at this,” the weekend email said. “The vote to sue President Obama on the House floor is THIS WEEK. Will you help us hit our $2 million RED ALERT goal before midnight tonight?”