John Boehn­er and his cau­cus con­tin­ued their polit­i­cal the­atrics on a grand scale today by forc­ing the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives to vote on a res­o­lu­tion autho­riz­ing John Boehn­er to ini­ti­ate lit­i­ga­tion against Barack Oba­ma for fail­ing to prop­er­ly dis­charge his duties as Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States of America.

All but five Repub­li­cans vot­ed in favor of the res­o­lu­tion, result­ing in its pas­sage by a vote of two hun­dred and twen­ty-five to two hun­dred and one. No Democ­rats vot­ed aye. Three Democ­rats and three Repub­li­cans did not cast votes.

In a lengthy floor speech oppos­ing the res­o­lu­tion, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader Nan­cy Pelosi evis­cer­at­ed John Boehn­er and the Repub­li­cans for wast­ing the Amer­i­can peo­ple’s time and mon­ey on a base­less law­suit designed to score polit­i­cal points with the far right. Here’s an excerpt from her remarks:

The law­suit is only the lat­est proof of the House Repub­li­cans’ con­tempt and dis­re­gard for the pri­or­i­ties of the Amer­i­can people.

It is yet anoth­er Repub­li­can effort to pan­der to the most rad­i­cal right-wing vot­ers at tax­pay­ers’ expense: $2.3 mil­lion spent defend­ing DOMA – a doomed case – defend­ing DOMA, more than $3 mil­lion on the Select Com­mit­tee to exploit Beng­hazi – and by the way, some­thing that had been inves­ti­gat­ed again and again, at the very admis­sion of lead­ers on the Repub­li­can side. Why are we doing this? And then this, which we don’t have a price tag on that they will reveal to us.

But again, why would you sue some­body unless you want to prove some­thing? And why would you go down that path unless you want­ed to do some­thing about it?

But the fact is: Repub­li­cans in Con­gress have no stand­ing on this suit. Most con­sti­tu­tion­al schol­ars have, or do, admit that. Even your expert wit­ness­es have in the past said you don’t have stand­ing on it.

Mid­dle class fam­i­lies don’t have time for the Repub­li­can par­ti­san grudge match with the Pres­i­dent.  They know this is – it’s a fun­ny thing – well fun­ny in one strange inter­pre­ta­tion of the word ‘fun­ny’: but a cou­ple of weeks ago, on the steps of the Capi­tol, House Democ­rats were there to launch our ‘Mid­dle Class Jump­start’ about some of the issues I raised: job cre­ation here in the US, afford­abil­i­ty for col­lege, ear­ly child­hood edu­ca­tion, all of those things, equal pay for equal work, raise the min­i­mum wage.  We were doing that on the steps of the Capitol.

And in the Capi­tol build­ing, the Repub­li­cans were launch­ing their law­suit against the Pres­i­dent. What could be more dif­fer­ent in terms of address­ing the needs of the Amer­i­can peo­ple? We made the point that this was all hap­pen­ing on the same day.

In Kansas City, Mis­souri, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma echoed Pelosi’s com­ments, slam­ming House Repub­li­cans for their hypocrisy (they refuse to do their jobs while charg­ing that he isn’t doing his). From the tran­script of his speech at the Uptown Theater:

But think about this — they have announced that they’re going to sue me for tak­ing exec­u­tive actions to help people.

So they’re mad because I’m doing my job. And, by the way, I’ve told them — I said, I’d be hap­py to do it with you.

So the only rea­son I’m doing it on my own is because you don’t do any­thing. But if you want, let’s work together.

I mean, every­body rec­og­nizes this is a polit­i­cal stunt, but it’s worse than that, because every vote they’re tak­ing like that means a vote they’re not tak­ing to actu­al­ly help you. When they have tak­en fifty votes to repeal the Afford­able Care Act, that was time that could have been spent work­ing con­struc­tive­ly to help you on some things. And, by the way, you know who is pay­ing for this suit they’re going to file? You.

The roll call vote from the Pacif­ic North­west on the res­o­lu­tion broke down strict­ly along par­ty lines and was as fol­lows:

Vot­ing Aye: Repub­li­cans Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Doc Hast­ings, Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers, Dave Reichert (WA), Raúl Labrador and Mike Simp­son (ID), Greg Walden (OR), Steve Daines (MT), Don Young (AK)

Vot­ing Nay: Democ­rats Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Jim McDer­mott, Den­ny Heck, and Adam Smith (WA); Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrad­er (OR)

The five Repub­li­cans who vot­ed against the res­o­lu­tion were Scott Gar­rett of New Jer­sey, Wal­ter Jones of North Car­oli­na, Paul Broun of Geor­gia (a mem­ber of the Tea Par­ty fac­tion), Thomas Massie of Ken­tucky, and Steve Stock­man of Texas.

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee and the par­ty’s two con­gres­sion­al cam­paign com­mit­tees have already been using the threat of the law­suit to raise record sums of mon­ey this cycle from donors, and are already using today’s vote as fod­der to raise even more. An email from DNC Chair­woman Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz has just gone out urg­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic donors to “chip in” to fight the Republicans.

“I just walked off the floor of the House after the Repub­li­can major­i­ty vot­ed to sue the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States for the first time in our his­to­ry,” the email, signed by Schultz, begins. It goes on to say, “I wish I could say it was sur­pris­ing, Andrew. But frankly, with these folks, end­less stunts and emp­ty-head­ed wastes of time have become the norm. After today’s vote, it could­n’t be more clear that it’s time to elect Democ­rats and send this shutdown/lawsuit crowd packing.”

Jason Ritchie, who is among four Democ­rats chal­leng­ing Wash­ing­ton State’s incum­bent Repub­li­cans for House this cycle, con­demned his oppo­nent Dave Reichert (who has claimed in the past to be an inde­pen­dent thinker) for vot­ing in lock­step with the House Repub­li­can lead­er­ship. (There exists, if you haven’t seen it, a great clip of Reichert admit­ting that he does what he’s told when he’s back in D.C.).

“The peo­ple of the 8th Dis­trict want an end to par­ti­san­ship and grid­lock. Instead Con­gress­man Reichert vot­ed to spend tax­pay­er mon­ey suing the Pres­i­dent. He and his D.C. friends are wast­ing tax­pay­ers’ time and mon­ey on a friv­o­lous law­suit when they could be address­ing real eco­nom­ic issues like infra­struc­ture and immi­gra­tion,” said Ritchie in a state­ment sent to NPI.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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One reply on “House Republicans authorize John Boehner to file baseless lawsuit against President Obama”

  1. Who’s mon­ey are they using to sue the
    Pres­i­dent??? I hope not my tax dollars
    or they need to be sued for wast­ing our time and money…yet again. The President
    is smarter than the lot of those moron’s
    and that’s why they are mad. Do your damn
    job on both sides of the aisle or go home! We are tired of your BS!!

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