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House GOPs lawsuit to sue the President: Waste of time and taxpayer money

Congressman Alcee Hasting3 House GOPs lawsuit to sue the President: Waste of time and taxpayer money

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings

House GOPs lawsuit to sue the President: Waste of time and taxpayer money

By Congressman Alcee L. Hastings

In July, House Republicans passed a measure allowing Speaker John Boehner to sue President Barack Obama over his enforcement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This lawsuit is frivolous and a complete waste of time and taxpayer money.

In fact, this lawsuit is better described as a political stunt that has nothing to do with enforcing the law, a law that House Republicans voted over 50 times to repeal. After all, if Republicans were really concerned with the way the law is being enforced, they would have sued the President when he made his initial decision over a year ago. Instead, they waited until an election year, because there are many in the Republican Party who cannot accept the fact that President Obama was elected not once, but twice by the American people.

Make no mistake, even if Republicans truly decided to sue the President out of an interest in “helping” the millions of Americans who now have health insurance, a judge will toss this lawsuit from court almost immediately.

Expert witnesses testified on July 16, 2014 at a hearing before the House Committee on Rules that under 200 years of legal precedent, not only do Republicans in the House of Representatives not meet the legal requirements to bring this lawsuit, but that President Obama’s actions are well within the legal bounds established by practices of Presidents of both parties. Even one of the Republican witnesses, Florida International University College of Law Professor Elizabeth Price Foley stated in an op-ed that, “Congress probably can’t sue the President” in a situation like this. She also went on to describe a number of alternative Constitutional remedies for when Congress disagrees with the way a President enforces the law.

Even worse, Republicans refuse to tell the American people how much they plan on spending on this lawsuit, continuing a pattern of squandering time and money. Let’s not forget that it was House Republicans who spent $2.3 million in taxpayer money to defend the unseemly and unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and intend to spend as much as $3.3 million on their Benghazi Select Committee, the ninth similar investigation into the terrorist attack in Benghazi.

Our nation faces many complicated problems. This lawsuit will not address any of them. It will not fix our crumbling infrastructure and it will not create new affordable housing. It will not help solve the heart-wrenching scene unfolding at our border, as thousands of children flee terrible violence in Central America. It will not help our sons, daughters and grandchildren afford the education they need to succeed in today’s competitive job market. Those in need of unemployment insurance will remain floating adrift as they try to navigate the rough waters of our economy, and we will be no closer to passing a plan to create millions of good, well-paying jobs.

House Republicans ought to acknowledge this frivolous lawsuit for what it is, give up their political stunt, and join Democrats in order to actually help hardworking American families. I’m ready to get to work, Democrats are ready to get to work, and the American people are ready to get to work. The only thing that’s stopping us now are Republicans in Congress.

    Congressman Alcee L. Hastings represents Florida’s 20th District, serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.

 

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    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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