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President Barack Obama and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives are headed into a rare fight, one that will play out in a court of justice.
Speaker John Boehner intends to sue the president over a portion of the new health care law, according to a draft of a House resolution released on Thursday.
“The president changed the healthcare law without a vote of Congress, effectively creating his own law by literally waiving the employer mandate and the penalties for failing to comply with it,” Boehner said in an accompanying statement.
“That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work. No president should have the power to make laws on his or her own.”
Under the new healthcare law, employers with more than 50 people on their rolls must provide them health insurance, otherwise they will be penalized.
The administration has delayed implementing that part of the law, which came into effect last October to largely partisan opposition from Republicans.
Boehner is contending that only Congress could authorize it, and that the president had overstepped his authority by delaying that provision of the law. So the lawsuit.
US presidents have been sued before. But, “one branch suing another branch is a very odd”, John Hudak, an expert on presidential powers, told CBS News.
Obama is neither impressed nor worried. “You're going to use taxpayer money to sue me for doing my job — while you don't do your job” Obama said in a speech in Texas.
His press secretary, Josh Earnest, was less polite, calling the lawsuit threat a “political stunt”.
The speaker’s real target, experts are saying, are the congressional elections in November.
He is trying to “define the president as lawless for the upcoming elections without calling for an impeachment,” said Christopher Bedford, managing editor at Daily Caller, a conservative news organization.
Republicans, who currently control the House and are likely to retain it, want to capture the senate, which is currently controlled by President Obama’s party, the Democrats.