News / USA

US House Approves Bill to Sue Obama

FILE- President Barack Obama listens to a question in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, July 18, 2014.
FILE- President Barack Obama listens to a question in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, July 18, 2014.
Cindy Saine

After a day of drama in the chamber, the U.S. House of Representatives has approved a bill on a party-line vote that authorizes the House to file a lawsuit against President Barack Obama.

House Republicans say the president violated the Constitution in 2013 by changing his signature health care reform law without getting approval from Congress. Democrats say the bill is a political stunt designed to undermine the president's legitimacy.

It was a day of impassioned debate on the House floor about the state of American democracy. House Republicans say Democratic President Barack Obama has openly bragged on several occasions that he has a pen, and if Congress will not act to solve problems, he will act on his own on issues such as immigration and health care.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner said the lawsuit is not about Republicans or Democrats, but about defending the U.S. Constitution from overreach by the Executive branch.

“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? – asked Boehner.

But most Democrats fiercely oppose the lawsuit as a political move to fire up conservative Republican voters during an election year, and as a waste of Congress’ time and taxpayer money.  

Some Democrats said some Republicans have bitterly opposed President Obama from his very first day in office.  Democratic Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis said the lawsuit goes too far.

“I urge each and every one of my colleagues to have the raw courage, nothing but courage, to oppose this insulting and offensive resolution,” said Lewis.

Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd in the midwestern city of Kansas City, Missouri, the president seemed to brush off the vote, and he poked fun at Republicans for wasting time on the measure with only two days left before they leave Washington for their August recess.

“Instead of suing me for doing my job, I want Congress to do its job, and make life a little better for the Americans who send them there in the first place. Stop posturing,” said he to cheers and applause.

Some Democrats pointed out that is ironic that House Republicans want to sue the president for delaying part of the Affordable Care Act, which the House has voted to repeal or delay more than 50 times.

Presidential historian Alan Lichtman of American University said he believes the vote, like many things in Washington, is highly political.

If it is a political maneuver, it is quite likely to backfire on the Republicans just as the impeachment of Bill Clinton backfired on the Republicans back in the late 1990s.

Lichtman said if courts find that the House has the standing to sue the president, it would put Congress in uncharted waters.

“Well this effort, it if were to succeed, to sue President Obama, would be historically unprecedented.  Usually the remedy, when you believe the president has been abusing his power, is impeachment,” said Lichtman.

Some Democrats have suggested that the lawsuit may be a first step, laying the groundwork for Republicans to try to impeach President Obama.

House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi challenged House Speaker Boehner to rule impeachment out.

“Impeachment is off the table.  Why hasn’t the speaker said that?” – asked Pelosi.

Earlier in the week, Boehner said the talk of impeachment was a “scam” by Democrats to fire up their voters and raise money for the November elections. The White House has said it is taking the possibility of impeachment seriously, especially if the president takes more executive actions on immigration reform.

Analysts say a potential lawsuit against the president, if it moves forward, could take years to actually make it to court.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid