Those of you tired of reading about attacks on the Affordable Care Act will have to suffer yet another article on the legislation, known as “Obamacare”.
Last Thursday Speaker John Boehner declared his lawsuit against the president would focus solely on Mr. Obama’s Executive Order to delay penalties imposed on employers who do not offer health insurance to employees.
And if you were thinking that this is just another Republican fight against the legislation then surprisingly you’d be wrong.
According to Boehner, this suit goes against the Executive Branch’s aggressive overreaching; amending legislation which ought to be decided by Congress.
The case, consequently, is designed to establish a presidential precedent for future leaders who try to bypass the legislative branch to create their own laws.
The Grand Old Flip-Flop
Now, some of the points made aren’t completely unjustified. After all, no one likes a dictatorial Commander-in-Chief. And yet several facets of this particular attack are strikingly odd.
For starters, this president has issued the fewest Executive Orders of any other since FDR.
And while the suit has been on the table for some time, the Speaker identified only last Thursday the specific Order the case would focus on.
Speaker Boehner, along with the bulk of his party, has often spoken of his intense disagreement with the ‘Employer Mandate’ section of the ACA. So why exactly is he asking other Republicans to join him in compelling the courts (which, it should be noted, many on the right believe are guilty of overreaching their own authority) to demand implementation of a rule no one on his side even wants, a rule which Obama has said will be executed soon anyway?
And, of course, there is that whole midterm election in November…
This Congress is on track to becoming the least productive federal assembly in US history. With less than two weeks left of the current legislative session, Boehner has cleared all other congressional agendas aside, leaving the lawsuit as the only topic up for discussion.
Although Boehner is trying to emphasize the apparent lack of respect the president has for constitutional checks and balances in government, it is undeniably an effort on his part to satisfy a large portion of the Republican base.
Many GOP members have been pushing for the impeachment of Barack Obama for some time now. Sarah Palin, declaring that her party’s representatives lack “cojones”, has even told all Americans to “vehemently oppose any politician […] who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment”:
The many impeachable offenses of Barack Obama can no longer be ignored. If after all this he’s not impeachable, then no one is.
Boehner, however, isn’t willing to jump on an impeachment pathway, especially in an election year, which he will most certainly lose.
“Oh, the tyranny!!”
By taking his case through the House, Boehner will create his own mini-impeachment trial, offering House Republicans a podium for their grievances. Moreover the Speaker’s colleagues can then return home in the break and inform their constituents they are fighting against the tyrannical president from his authoritarian agenda.
In the meantime, Democrats everywhere are denouncing the case as a ridiculous, political stunt, with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi releasing a statement claiming House Republicans are “desperate to distract the American people from their own spectacular obstruction and dysfunction.”
While it is yet to be seen how the Speaker’s suit will affect the votes of those firmly on the right come November, many Republicans have already weighed in, voicing their anger at the House’s “lack of testicular fortitude to fight President Obama”.
House of Reprehensibles
The Speaker’s broader points are difficult to dispute: the Executive should not be able to forgo the ‘people’s branch’ of the government. Yet this case is just another excuse for congressional Republicans to throw dirt at a president unwilling to wait on the legislature to legislate.
Boehner’s attempts to placate his own party members in an election cycle have not gone unnoticed. Nor has the fact Boehner has continued to head an intentionally hostile House of Representatives whose sole purpose is inhibiting Obama.
Rather than using these precious last days left of the session to push through some bills, the Speaker believes Americans want him to waste not only the people’s money on a frivolous lawsuit, but also the time of the courts.
When the profligate John Boehner finally wakes up from his dream of returning home to a ticker tape parade with crowds praising him for sticking it to President Obama, we can only hope one of his constituents will question the Speaker on not just why he is suddenly in favor of enacting a deeply unfavorable measure of the healthcare law, but also why he believes his responsibilities as Speaker of the House are there for the benefit of his party rather than his country.
Perhaps instead a different politician is worthy enough to face impeachment.