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House votes to sue Obama

Washington, July 31: The House of Representatives voted yesterday to sue President Obama for overstepping the powers of the presidency — a move that has angered conservatives who call it insufficient, emboldened Democrats who say Republicans are being vengeful, and further eroded much of what is left of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill.

In a 225-to-201 party-line vote, Republicans authorised the House to move forward with a lawsuit against Obama for his application of the Affordable Care Act, which they argue has been selective and intended to delay the law’s most undesirable aspects.

During a pointed, impassioned hour-long debate, Republicans accused the President of flouting the law and breaking a solemn constitutional oath. They summoned lessons from the American Revolution and the Bible.

Speaker John A. Boehner all but accused Obama of leaving the Constitution in tatters. “No member of this body needs to be reminded about what the Constitution states about the President’s obligation to faithfully execute the laws of our nation,” Boehner said from the House floor.

“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?”

Democrats pointed to a litany of bills that Boehner had kept from reaching the floor for a vote this year — legislation to raise the minimum wage, extend unemployment insurance and overhaul the immigration system — and accused Republicans of wasting time and money.

“A sorry spectacle of legislative malpractice,” said Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York. “The majority of the American people recognise this for what it is: political theatre.”

The lawsuit was Boehner’s version of what might be termed impeachment-light — a way to send a signal that Republicans would fight the President’s efforts to revise laws Congress had passed while not going as far as many on the Right would like.

But, as the speaker has found with other efforts to appease the Right wing of his party, he was not well received. Sarah Palin responded by calling for Obama’s impeachment, stirring up the kind of intra-party fight that Boehner had hoped to avoid. Other prominent conservatives ridiculed the lawsuit.

 
 
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