Republicans press lawsuit over Obama's executive actions

A dozen House Republicans on Tuesday pressed their leadership to move ahead with a federal lawsuit challenging President Obama's use of executive power.

Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), who first introduced the Stop This Overreaching Presidency (STOP) Resolution last month, said a formal legal challenge is needed to counter Obama's aggressive use of administrative authority.

"The president doesn't have the power to waive the law," Rice said Wednesday.


The renewed push was made a day after Obama announced a series of new executive actions to further his policy agenda in lieu of action from the divided Congress.

The GOP resolution, which has attracted more than 70 co-sponsors, would direct the House of Representatives to file a civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging four contentious actions Obama has announced in recent years.

The lawsuit would seek to void the Obama administration's decision to extend for a year "substandard" insurance policies that would otherwise have been canceled under the Affordable Care Act. It would also challenge the one-year delay of ObamaCare's employer mandate requiring companies to offer insurance or pay a penalty.

The lawmakers are also taking aim at Obama's directive granting deferred action in certain cases involving the deportation of illegal immigrants, as well as a waiver of welfare work requirements under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

The lawsuit would contend that each of those actions violated the section of the Constitution setting out that the president "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

"It's not just an insult to the Constitution, it's an insult to the voters who elected a Republican House," Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) said at a news conference pressing for action on the issue.

Rice said he had been in discussions with his conference's leadership on the issue, and was told it would be taken up at an upcoming hearing of the House Judiciary Committee.

Under the resolution, the House Administration fund would foot the bill for the challenge.

Criticism that Obama is overstepping his bounds intensified Tuesday night with Obama's pledge to move without Congress where necessary. Several Senate Republicans also warned that the president would face legal fights over any actions seen as excessive.

Those vows were echoed Wednesday in the lower chamber.

"Last night we saw a spectacle of centralization of power," said Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.). "It's wrong."