A PPP poll released Tuesday found that 51% of respondents see the lawsuit as a “political stunt, ” while 41% say it’s legitimate.
House Republicans’ planned lawsuit against President Obama stands little chance of success, most experts agree, but the fact that it’s set to go forward inevitably makes it the GOP’s central political priority, barring all else.
The lawsuit is expected to focus on the recent White House decision to delay the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate for at least a year.
The GOP says the point of the suit is to establish that the president can’t pick and choose how and when to enforce laws.
It’s about “protecting the Constitution, ” Speaker John Boehner said last week. “The current president believes he has the power to make his own laws—at times even boasting about it.”
President Obama begged to differ: “Their big idea has been to sue me, ” he said Tuesday. “That’s what they’re spending time on—a political stunt that wastes America’s time and taxpayer dollars.”
So far, Obama is ahead on this issue. A PPP poll released Tuesday found that 51% of respondents see the lawsuit as a “political stunt, ” while 41% say it’s legitimate.
Meanwhile, the Boehner team has done nothing of substance, other than to plan to take the president to court. They’ve passed almost no serious legislation. Comprehensive immigration reform? Not now, the House is too busy suing Obama.
The Republicans also appear to have miscalculated the political cost of rehashing their Obamacare gripes one more time. A poll last week found that even 74% of newly insured Republican voters like their coverage, and enrollment figures remain strong.
Republican candidates campaigning this summer have been downplaying the issue, or avoiding it altogether. Now it’s back, and they’ll get their faces rubbed in it.
Finally, the president’s decision to delay the mandate for businesses with 50-100 employees was pro-business and outright conservative. Republicans have been fighting the employer mandate staunchly, calling it an outrageous government intrusion into the private sector that would raise the cost of doing business.
Now the Republicans are suing Obama because he’s not ruining businesses—according to their description of the mandate—fast enough.
For a court to entertain this unusual suit, House Republicans must show they have “standing”—meaning they’ve suffered a specific, concrete harm from the delay of the employer mandate. Could be fun to watch.
And political historians would remind the court that, back in 2006, President Bush (not a Democrat) delayed the enforcement of a mandate for seniors to sign up for Medicare’s prescription drug benefit.
Congress was OK with that.
Legal experts say that if there will be a court in the land that will acquiesce to try the Republican case, it’s likely to be saddled with a series of appeals and counter-appeals, and won’t be resolved by the time Obama leaves office in two years.