(Bloomberg) — U.S. House Republicans made good on a vote to sue the Obama administration over implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care of 2010 (PPACA) with a lawsuit naming the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Treasury as defendants.
Republicans in July voted to sue over PPACA, and today they claimed in a complaint filed in the U.S. district court in the District of Columbia that the president exceeded his constitutional powers when he delayed one of the measure’s central requirements without a vote of Congress.
“Time after time, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and rewrite federal law on his own,” Republican House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement. “If this president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to as well.”
The lawsuit challenges Obama’s allegedly unlawful waiver of the employer mandate, a requirement that most employers provide health insurance to workers. The House also claimed the transfer of about $175 billion to insurance companies was illegal.
The PPACA lawsuit comes the day after President Barack Obama, in a nationally televised speech, announced actions to ease immigration restrictions to allow some illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. Republican leaders of Congress warned against such actions as being beyond the power of the president, and some state officials have threatened to sue.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said yesterday that “Congress will act” if Obama eases deportations of undocumented immigrants on his own. Senate Democrats said Obama is acting on immigration because House Republicans have refused to pass legislation since the senators approved a bipartisan plan in 2013.
Boehner today said legal action over Obama’s immigration plans is under consideration and would require an additional vote by the House.
In today’s lawsuit, the House alleged that the administration is unconstitutionally using funds from a separate Treasury Department account, authorized for other purposes, to pay insurance companies. Congress has never appropriated funds for the health care law’s cost-sharing program, according to the complaint.
“If this lawsuit were successful on this cost-sharing point, no low-income Americans would lose their health care because insurance companies would still be required to provide coverage/subsidy to those people,” according to Boehner’s statement.
House Republicans have voted more than 50 times to repeal or delay all or part of the healthcare law. The lawsuit allows Boehner to escalate his objections to Obama’s actions without giving in to some Tea Party-backed members of his party who want the House to consider impeaching the president, a move he has ruled out.
In July, five Republicans joined 220 Democrats in voting against a lawsuit: Reps. Paul Broun of Georgia, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Walter Jones of North Carolina, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, and Steve Stockman of Texas.
The case is U.S. House of Representatives v. Burwell, 14-cv-01967, U.S. District Court District of Columbia (Washington).
–With assistance from Derek Wallbank in Washington.