July 30, 2014 - In a party line vote, the House voted 225-201 to authorize Speaker John Boehner to sue President Obama for overreaching his constitutional authority in implementing the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare.  All Democrats voted against the resolution as did five conservative Republicans.  The move comes amid chatter over the possibility of impeachment amid some grassroots conservatives.  Republican leaders have rejected impeachment, and Democratic fundraising efforts have received a boost from the talk.    related memo from June 25

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.

    Resolved, That the Speaker is authorized to initiate or intervene in one or more civil actions on behalf of the House of Representatives in a Federal court of competent jurisdiction to seek any appropriate relief regarding the failure of the President, the head of any department or agency, or any other officer or employee of the executive branch, to act in a manner consistent with that official's duties under the Constitution and laws of the United States with respect to
implementation of any provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, title I or subtitle B of title II of the Health
Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, including any amendment made by such provision, or any other related provision of law, including a failure to implement any such provision.

    Sec. 2. The Speaker shall notify the House of Representatives of a decision to initiate or intervene in any civil action pursuant to this resolution.

    Sec. 3. (a) The Office of the General Counsel of the House of Representatives, at the direction of the Speaker, shall represent the House in any civil action initiated, or in which the House intervenes, pursuant to this resolution, and may employ the services of outside counsel and other experts for this purpose.

        (b) The chair of the Committee on House Administration shall cause to be printed in the Congressional Record a statement setting forth the aggregate amounts expended by the Office of General Counsel on outside counsel and other experts pursuant to subsection (a) on a quarterly basis. Such statement shall be submitted for printing not more than 30
days after the expiration of each such period.

Press Release from Speaker John Boehner

Speaker Boehner Urges House to Defend the Constitution

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today made the following floor remarks in support of H. Res. 676, a resolution which authorizes the House to enter into litigation in opposition to President Obama’s attempts to make his own laws, actions that challenge the constitutional separation of powers: 

“Let me thank my colleague for yielding, and I also want thank the whole House for its work to address the people’s concerns about jobs and our economy.  All told, we have sent the Senate now more than 40 jobs bills, almost all of them in a bipartisan way.  From the first day of this Congress, I’ve said our focus would be on jobs, and it has been.

“But also on that first day, you may recall that I addressed the House about the importance of our oath of office.  I noted that it’s the same oath we all take, it makes no mention of party, makes no mention of faction, or agenda.  The oath only refers to the Constitution – and our obligation to defend it.  I said that with moments like this in mind…I said that knowing there would be times when we would have to do things we didn’t come here to do, we didn’t plan to do, things that require us to consider interests greater than our own interests.

“I have to think this is why, on several occasions, members of the minority party have taken a similar step.  In 2011, some of them filed litigation against the vice president.  They took similar steps in 2006, 2002, 2001, and so forth.

“Because this isn’t about Republicans and Democrats.  It is about defending the Constitution that we swore an oath to uphold, and acting decisively when it may be compromised.

“No member of this body needs to be reminded of what the Constitution states about the president’s obligation to faithfully execute the laws of our nation.  No member needs to be reminded of the bonds of trust that have been frayed, of the damage that’s already been done to our economy and to our people.  Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change?  Are you willing to let anyone tear apart what our Founders have built?

“Think not only about the specifics of the oath you took, but think about how you took it: as one body, standing together.  That is all I am asking you to do today: to act as one institution, to defend the Constitution on behalf of the people we serve.”

Email from The White House
Subject: House Republicans just voted to sue President Obama:

The House of Representatives just took a vote -- and it wasn't to raise the minimum wage, put in place equal pay, create jobs, or reform our broken immigration system.

Instead, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives just voted to sue the President for using his executive authority. This lawsuit will waste valuable time and potentially millions of taxpayer dollars.

This is the least productive Congress in decades. And instead of doing their job, they are suing the President for doing his.

The President is committed to making a difference for the millions of hardworking Americans trying to do right by their families and communities. While Republicans in Congress continue to waste taxpayer money, this President is going to keep doing his job.

If you’re doing your own job -- and you support President Obama doing his -- add your name.

President Obama remains ready and willing to work with Republicans in Congress if they decide to get serious and do something for the American people. But he is also committed to acting even as Congress won't. You've seen that time and time again this year -- from raising the federal minimum wage on new federal government contracts, to expanding apprenticeship opportunities and making student loan payments more affordable.

The President is not going to back away from his efforts to use his authority to solve problems and help American families. In fact, tomorrow, President Obama will announce his next executive action to crack down on federal contractors who put workers' safety and hard-earned pay at risk. It's just the next in a series of steps this Administration will be taking this year to make sure that American workers are getting a fair deal, and he has pledged to take executive action to deal with our broken immigration system in the months ahead.

That’s what this President is focused on. If you want to see it continue, and are sick and tired of stunts like the House Republicans’ lawsuit, then say so:




Dan Pfeiffer
Senior Advisor
The White House

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

Transcript of Pelosi, House Democratic Leadership Press Conference After House Republicans Vote to Sue the President

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Members of the House Democratic Leadership held a press conference tonight after House Republicans voted to authorize Speaker Boehner’s politically-motivated and meritless lawsuit against the President.  Below is a transcript of the Leader’s opening remarks, as well as a question and answer session:

Leader Pelosi’s Opening Remarks “Good evening.  It is a good evening, except for what’s happening on the floor of the House.  As always, it is my privilege to be here with the House Democratic Leadership, and we will be shortly joined by Chairwoman Louise Slaughter, our Ranking Member on the Rules Committee.  I salute her for the excellent work she has done in the committee and on the floor to fight this motion to sue the President of the United States. “I will only make two points.  First: the question comes up that the Republicans are using the taxpayers’ time and money to sue the President.  We don’t have money to have early childhood education for our children – they have rejected the President’s universal pre-k – but we do have money to sue the President.  We don’t have money to lower the cost of student loans, but we do have money to sue the President. “How much money is that?  Nobody knows, not even the Chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, when she was asked today in the debate.   She doesn’t know.  This is endless.  We don’t know how much it will cost.  As they say – we don’t have money for our priorities, and this should not be a priority. “The other question and other point that I will make is about standing.  This House of Representative does not have standing to sue the President.  And because of the actions that they are taking – misusing the public’s time and resources – because of budgets that they have presented to the Congress of the United States, the Republicans in Congress do not have standing to talk to the American people about solving their problems.  They do not have standing to say: ‘We want to create jobs here at home,’ when in their decision they are giving tax breaks to companies to send jobs overseas.  They do not have standing to say: ‘Let’s build the infrastructure of America.  Let’s have Build America Bonds,’ because they prefer to use those resources to give tax breaks to special interests – tax loopholes for special interests. “So when we don’t have the money to have this suit – they don’t have the money to do better things for the American people.  We shouldn’t be spending money on this.  They don’t have the standing to do what’s right for the American people, and they certainly don’t have standing to sue the President of the United States.  As I said on the floor today: This isn’t about this lawsuit.  You don’t sue somebody unless you want to prove that they are wrong.  This is about the road to impeachment.  And if it is not, the Speaker can say one simple sentence: Impeachment is off the table.  That’s what I had to say in 2007.  That’s what Speaker Boehner should be saying now. “With that, I’m pleased to yield to our distinguished Whip, Mr. Hoyer.  I’m submitting my glowing introduction of him to the record.”


Leader Pelosi.  Do we have any questions?  No? Q:  I have a question for Ms. Slaughter on what you just said about the Rules Committee, if you don’t mind.  Congresswoman Slaughter.  Oh yes. Q:  I wanted to see if anyone else had a question… Leader Pelosi.  Well, do you have a question about the lawsuit?  Because he’s going to other issues.  Yes, sir? Q:  I was just going to ask – there was some thought that there might be a Democrat who would vote for the resolution.  If you can comment on how the vote played out, and also the five Republicans who joined you in voting against it – the more conservative wing of the Caucus. Leader Pelosi.  Steny, do you want to speak on this? Whip Hoyer.  Well, hey, we got some Republicans voting [no] on this. Leader Pelosi.  For one reason or another. Whip Hoyer.  I think the Democrats had a consistent view that, as [Justice] Scalia said – you know, Justice Scalia doesn’t always agree with us, or we with him – but he said:  This suing of one branch of another and asking the Judiciary to arbitrate is not good policy or good law.  And I think that’s why you saw the vote you saw. Leader Pelosi.  Any other questions on the lawsuit? Q:  For Chairman Israel:  You’ve had great success fundraising on this impeachment threat.  How far do you plan to take it into August?  Is this something we’re going to see over and over again? Congressman Israel.  Look, any time a Republican majority in the House of Representatives makes the determination that they should focus all of their energy on discussing impeachment of the President and suing the President, you bet you can expect that our supporters are going to be energized – and not just our supporters, but moderate voters, persuadable voters, swing voters.   They have had it with the excessive partisanship.  So it should come as no surprise to anyone that when you have Republicans actively talking about impeachment, and then spending an entire day today and this entire week focusing on how to sue the President, that many Americans are going to be disgusted and are going to act on that disgust by seeking an alternative that’s going to be focused on solutions for them – solutions that matter to their pocketbook. Leader Pelosi.  It might be interesting to note that much of the support sprung from all of this discussion has been spontaneous.  People are just angry.  I believe the Republican – part of their agenda was to motivate their base, to energize their base; but they energized ours and they turned off the middle.  So we have a situation where – even the Chairman of the [Rules] Committee said that it was right to impeach Clinton.  So they’re talking about impeachment on the floor: “It was right to impeach Clinton” – President Clinton.  Any other questions on the lawsuit?  Yes, sir. Q:  Thank you I’m sorry this is for… Leader Pelosi.  Louise. Q:  So you say that they’ve put the Rules Committee on… Congresswoman Slaughter.  On standby… Q:  Do you have any agreements… Congresswoman Slaughter.  We’re on standby, which means that we broke to go do the votes and the hearing – most of that.  And then we were told that we would come back and vote out the bill – the supplemental bill, that is – so that it would be on the floor tomorrow.  Because we would do martial law and suspension authority as part of the rule.  The last thing I heard as I left the floor is that they have no agreement whatsoever.  As a matter of fact, it’s a very troubled piece of legislation.  And we may be here most of the night trying to come to some conclusion thereon. Q:  When you hear that – I realize you’re not privy to all their meetings here.  That sounds like… Congresswoman Slaughter.  I’ve had experience, Chad. [Laughter] When they tell us we’ll be getting together in an hour, we know that’s at least four or five. [Laughter] Q:  And what does that tell you about the state of this legislation?  I know Ted Cruz is across the… Congresswoman Slaughter.  That we may be stuck tomorrow just voting for that deregulation of pesticides that they put on the same rule that they had to sue the President of the United States, which I though was maybe not a bad juxtaposition.  But that was rather odd.  Pick the poison. Vice Chair Crowley.  Yeah, pick your poison. [Laughter] Leader Pelosi.  In any event, what they’re asking us is to give a blank check to them to sue the President, to waste the taxpayers’ time instead of helping the middle class; to waste time on this – on a subject on which they have no standing.  Blank check, waste time, no standing – that’s the product of their work for today, instead of helping us make progress to create jobs for the American people.  Thank you all very much for coming.

Democratic National Committee

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Statement on House GOP Lawsuit Vote

Washington, DC – DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement after Republicans in the House voted to spend taxpayer dollars to sue President Obama:


“Today's vote in the House of Representatives was a shameful display of political pandering and misplaced priorities. Rather than focus on economic policies that will create opportunity and ensure economic security for middle-class Americans, Republicans have chosen to sue the President for doing his job.

“There are pressing issues we should be acting on - including comprehensive immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, and renewing emergency unemployment insurance - which would be a far better use of taxpayers' time and money.

“Speaker Boehner is gravely mistaken if he thinks this will placate the swell of impeachment talk in his ranks. The far right of the Republican Party has not been swayed by rejection at the ballot box, scared by their fool's errand in shutting down the government, or chastened by jeopardizing the full faith and credit of the nation. This lawsuit will only serve to embolden Republicans' impeachment caucus, and emphasize the clear contrast in priorities between Democrats and Republicans for voters in November.”