By Bernie Becker - 07/17/14 06:01 PM EDT
House Democrats demanded Thursday to know how much the GOP’s planned lawsuit against President Obama would cost.
“The American people have endured enough waste from this House Majority and we are demanding an estimate so that Members of Congress and the American public will know the true cost of the House’s petty partisan lawsuit against the president,” Rep. Louise Slaughter (N.Y.), the top Democrat at House Rules Committee, said on Thursday.
The Democrats outlined their concerns in a letter to Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas).
In the letter, the four Democrats on the panel said they understood that Republicans wouldn’t be able to give an exact cost for the litigation, which will charge that President Obama exceeded his powers by delaying the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate.
But they expressed concern that the draft resolution for the litigation placed no limit on how much could be spent, and that the costs of paying for outside lawyers would be covered with transfers from other House accounts.
“Responsible members of this body have an obligation to ensure taxpayer money is not turned into a slush fund for high-priced outside lawyers with connections to Republican lawmakers,” Slaughter said.
While Republicans haven’t estimated how much the lawsuit will cost, Democrats note that the GOP spent $2.3 million to back the Defense of Marriage Act in court and that the House’s inquiry into the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, could cost around $3.3 million.
The Rules Committee is expected to consider the resolution authorizing the lawsuit next week. The House is then expected to pass it the last week of July, shortly before lawmakers head home for August.