House Republicans have filed a lawsuit against President Obama over his healthcare law, Speaker John Boehner announced Friday, making good on a resolution passed in July.
The lawsuit, filed Friday, is the first legal challenge of its kind by a chamber of Congress and came one day after the president’s announcement that he was using executive authority to institute immigration reform. Republicans have discussed whether to expand their healthcare lawsuit to include the immigration actions.
It is also the latest in a long string of challenges opponents have raised against the law. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear one of the challenges next year and issue a decision by June.
In the statement announcing the lawsuit, Boehner said: “Time after time, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and re-write federal law on his own without a vote of Congress. That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work.”
Republicans have taken issue with Obama’s failure to enforce a provision of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which requires businesses to pay a penalty if they don’t offer basic health insurance to employees. The Obama administration has delayed the provision twice, and it won’t fully take effect until 2016.
The lawsuit also addresses Republican opposition to an estimated $175 billion in payments to insurance companies over the next 10 years as part of a cost-sharing program under the healthcare law.
“Congress has never appropriated funds for the program,” Boehner said in a statement Friday. “The administration is instead unlawfully and unconstitutionally using funds from a separate Treasury Department account ... and thereby unilaterally altering the structure of the health care law.”
Legal experts have said the Republicans’ lawsuit is likely to fail, as recent court decisions have made it clear that members of Congress have no standing to file constitutional lawsuits. The president also has leeway to enforce laws, legal experts point out, and Obama is not the first to delay implementation of a law.
The lawsuit could also take years to resolve, by which time the employer mandate could be fully implemented.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi responded to the lawsuit, calling it “meritless” and “an embarrassing loser.”
“While the American people want Congress to get serious about creating good-paying jobs and strengthening the middle class, House Republicans [are using] taxpayer money to sue the president of the United States,” Pelosi said. “This lawsuit is a bald-faced attempt to achieve what Republicans have been unable to achieve through the political process.”
Times staff writers Mike Memoli and David G. Savage contributed to this report.
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