Judge refuses to let House ObamaCare suit move to another court

A federal judge on Monday denied a request from the Obama administration to immediately appeal a ruling in House Republicans’ ObamaCare lawsuit. 

The district court judge, Rosemary Collyer, a Republican appointee of President George W. Bush, last month gave the House GOP a big win by ruling that their lawsuit against the administration could move forward.


The Obama administration strongly objected to that decision and asked for the ability to immediately appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. But on Monday Collyer denied that request, deciding that she will first decide the substance of the case. 

Collyer wrote that a ruling on the substance of the case would not take much more time — “a matter of months” — and that the appeals court “will be best served by reviewing a complete record” on both the standing issue and the substance of the case. 

In the case, House v. Burwell, GOP lawmakers argue that President Obama is overstepping his constitutional powers by spending money on an ObamaCare program that Congress has not appropriated money for. 

The money, $136 billion over 10 years, is known as “cost-sharing reductions” and helps ObamaCare enrollees afford their out-of-pocket healthcare costs. The administration argues that it is justified in spending the money because the funds are built into the law and do not need to be appropriated. 

The Obama administration has argued that the House does not have the ability to bring the suit in the first place because it would be inserting the courts into a political dispute between two branches of government. 

But Judge Collyer rejected that argument last month, allowing the suit to go forward. She has yet to rule on the substance of the case, on whether Obama is overstepping his executive authority by making the ObamaCare payments. 

On Monday, she set the final deadline for filings on the substantive question for Jan. 18. 

Outgoing Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE (R-Ohio) has repeatedly touted the lawsuit as a key step in fighting ObamaCare and what he views as Obama’s executive overreach.

"I’m pleased with today’s ruling," BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE said in a statement.

"The court has previously ruled that the House does, in fact, have standing to challenge one of the president’s unilateral actions with regard to ObamaCare. Today’s ruling further underscores that point, and ensures that the District Court will hear the merits of the case this fall."

The White House said it is "disappointed" in the ruling and called for a stop to "endless lawsuits" over the health law. 

"The House lawsuit undermines centuries of historical practice and the fundamental principles of our system of democratic government," White House spokeswoman Katie Hill said in a statement. "We are confident that the courts ultimately will dismiss this taxpayer-funded political stunt, which would make health care more expensive for millions of Americans."

— This story was last updated at 7:32 p.m.