In his weekly radio/YouTube address, President Obama derided House Republicans’ planned lawsuit against him, warning that GOP lawmakers will spend taxpayer dollars on a frivolous legal challenge.
“It’s a political stunt that’s going to waste months of America’s time. And by the way, they’re going to pay for it using your hard-earned tax dollars,” Obama said.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has orchestrated the beginnings of a lawsuit against the president over his use of executive authority.
As the White House and the GOP-controlled House have failed to compromise on a slew of issues during Obama’s tenure, the president has repeatedly sought to circumvent political intransigence with unilateral executive action, often accusing Republicans of refusing to compromise. Republicans, in turn, have alleged that Obama is not sincerely interested in working with them and has overreached beyond his authority.
The lawsuit will focus on Obama’s massaging of his signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act. Via executive order, Obama delayed the implementation of its requirement that employers provide health insurance to full-time employees, a key provision. Republicans have asserted that action amounted to re-writing a law without a vote from Congress.
Obama has issued executive orders altering U.S. policy on immigration and other issues, but Republicans have chosen to focus solely on health care.
“There are many examples of executive overreach by the president, but his actions on the health care law are the ones that give the House the best chance of success in the courts” states a draft resolution authorizing the lawsuit. The House Rules Committee will meet Wednesday to consider the resolution authorizing the suit that would be brought by the House’s Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which serves as legal representation for the lower chamber. The full House could vote on it as early as Thursday.
Touching on another familiar issue — the lack of cooperation in Washington — the president admonished Congress to pass bills he would sign.
“I have a better idea: do something, Congress. Do anything to help working Americans. Join the rest of the country. Join me — I’m looking forward to working with you,” Obama said.
Republicans, meanwhile, handed their weekly-radio-address duties over to Joni Ernst, one of the party’s most prominent 2014 Senate candidates — and one who once mentioned the possibility impeaching Obama.
“The problem in America today is that Washington is full of liberals who think government is the solution to every problem. They think that nothing can be solved unless Washington is involved,” Ernst said in the address. “And so they grow our government, every year making it more intrusive and more involved in our lives. Today government tells us what doctors to see, what kinds of light bulbs to use, and in some places, even how much soda we can drink.”
Ernst called for a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution and an end to Obamacare.
At a candidate forum in January, Ernst accused Obama of having “become a dictator” and said impeachment should be on the table if, hypothetically, the Supreme Court ruled his “recess appointments” unconstitutional. Responding to a question about what consequences Obama should face if the Supreme Court invalidated his appointments–which it later did, in a June 26 ruling–Ernst responded that “yes, absolutely he has overstepped his bounds” and that “I do think that yes, he should face those repercussions, and whether that’s removal from office, whether that’s impeachment.”
On Tuesday, former Republican vice-presidential nominee and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin called for Obama to be to removed from office, alleging he has intentionally allowed immigrants to enter the country illegally.
In a statement issued through her campaign, Ernst clarified her remark, saying she had responded to a hypothetical question about a Supreme Court ruling and that “To be clear, I have not seen any evidence that the President should be impeached. I obviously do not believe the president is a dictator, but his repeated use of unilateral action sure makes him look like one.”
On June 26, the Supreme Court did rule against President Obama in a case challenging three of his “recess appointments.”
A lieutenant colonel and battalion commander in the Iowa Army National Guard, Ernst said in the address that she had recorded it early and would be deployed on active duty for two weeks by the time it aired on Saturday.
This post has been corrected. An earlier version misstated that Ernst had made her comment at a candidate forum on Tuesday and that her comment came after Palin’s. Ernst made the comment in January, well before Palin’s comment drew greater attention to Ernst’s comment. The post has been updated with more context about the question and Ernst’s response, as well as her subsequent statement disagreeing that President Obama should be impeached.