November 21, 2014

Video: What’s Next For Republicans’ ACA Lawsuit?

By Erica R. Hendry

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) talks with reporters in his office in the U.S. Capitol.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) talks with reporters in his office in the U.S. Capitol.

Hours after President Barack Obama acted on promises to forge ahead with immigration reform on his own, House Republicans have put into action their own vows to take action against the Affordable Care Act with a lawsuit against the Obama administration.

The lawsuit, specifically against the Health and Human Services and Treasury Department secretaries, says the president abused his executive authority in rolling out the health care law.

The Friday announcement from Republicans and Thursday’s primetime rollout of Obama’s immigration plan both embody an issue that will also face the 114th Congress when it convenes in January: “What are the powers of the president in a government that’s as bitterly divided as I think we’ve ever seen?” Politico‘s Alex Burns asked Friday on The Diane Rehm Show.

“It’s hard not to read [ACA legislation] as a reaction to what the president has done on immigration,” NBC’s Shawna Thomas told Diane Rehm on Friday. [Video below]

Neither of these actions should come as a surprise:

House speaker John Boehner has been promising to act on the health care law since at least July.

And earlier this month, Sen. Mitch McConnell said he didn’t think repealing the legislation was possible, “but we’re gonna keep shooting arrows at it.”

“I think that you cannot underestimate how unpopular the healthcare law is not only among the conservative base, but still very much within Republicans in Congress,” USA Today‘s Susan Davis told us after the midterm elections.

What are the lawsuit’s chances?

Jonathan Turley, the lawyer hired by Republicans for the case, wrote on his blog that the case “represents a long-overdue effort by Congress to resolve fundamental Separation of Powers issues. In that sense, it has more to do with constitutional law than health care law.”

Meanwhile, Democrats, including House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, see the lawsuit as a stunt.

“The legislative branch cannot sue simply because they disagree with the way a law passed by a different Congress has been implemented. It is clear, as one leading legal scholar put it, that this lawsuit is ‘an embarrassing loser,” she said in a statement.



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