By Jonathan Easley - 11/18/13 03:47 PM EST
Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) says he voted in favor of a GOP bill that would allow insurance companies to continue offering limited health plans because he didn’t think President Obama had the authority to do so on his own.
"I voted yes, perhaps that was part of the reason," Rahall said. "But the main reason was, I'm not sure he had the legal underpinning to do what he did."
The White House last week threatened to veto the bill, sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), before the House passed it in a 261-157 vote.
The bill was proposed amid the firestorm over Obama's promise that people who like their plans could keep them. The president has apologized as an estimated 5 million people have been notified that their insurance plans will be canceled because of ObamaCare.
Obama last week said he would give insurance companies the option of continuing plans that don't meet ObamaCare's mandated requirements for an additional year.
Liberals and Democrats argue that the executive branch has the power to delay or alter statutes, and that it has done so consistently under Republican and Democratic administrations alike.
“Does the executive branch have the constitutional power to delay implementation of a statute? Of course it does,” wrote Timothy Noah at MSNBC. “Federal agencies blow such deadlines all the time. If some stakeholder finds the delay intolerable, he or she can take the agency in question to court and perhaps get a judge to impose a stricter timetable."
But conservatives said Obama's proposed "fix" is another example of him overstepping his authority.
“Obama isn’t a one-man Congress,” Tom Fitton, the president of the conservative-leaning Judicial Watch, told The Hill last week. “Only Congress can rewrite the Affordable Care Act. This power grab is bound to be resisted in the courts.”