In a 225-201 vote, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has voted to sue President Barack Obama, giving Americans even more reason to intensify their ever-expanding disapproval of Congress.
According to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and other House GOP leaders, the suit will center on the Obama administration giving employers a one-year reprieve on enforcing a requirement under the Affordable Health Care Act last year. Despite the partisan vote (albeit five Republicans opted to vote with Democrats against the suit), Boehner says, “This isn’t about Republicans and Democrats. It’s about defending the Constitution we swore an oath to uphold.”
Obama has dismissed the suit, noting that “everybody recognizes this as a political stunt.” He went on to say, “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.” Indeed, the vote highlights both a lack of concern for more pressing matters and another objective: continuing to question President Obama’s authority.
It’s been argued that for Boehner, the suit is a means to appease the flock of crazies within the Republican Party who have been clamoring for Obama’s impeachment mere moments after his presidency began. Boehner has dismissed the discussion of impeachment as a “Democratic scam.”
Evidently, he tunes out the rest of his party when convenient: Former failed GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin won’t shut up about impeaching President Obama. Nor will former Florida Congressman Allen West, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), and others.
Meanwhile, another failed Republican vice presidential nominee and faux champion of the poor Paul Ryan also argues that the impeachment talk stems from Democrats.
Ryan was quoted as saying, “I see this sort of a ridiculous game by the President and his political team to try and change the narrative, raise money, and turn out their base for an upcoming election that they feel is not going to go their way. And I’ll just leave it at that.”
Other Republicans in Congress are using that sort of thinly veiled impeachment rhetoric too.
Either way, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., who would not give a definitive “no” answer to the question of whether the House would impeach Obama during an interview on FOX News Sunday. explained, “We’ve made it clear we’re going to put options on the table to allow the House to take legal action against the President when he overreaches his authority.”
Ryan himself talked about Obama purportedly demonstrating “distrust” in enforcing the laws and went on to claim “there is just no confidence or faith that the President will faithfully discharge his duties in executing and implementing the laws as written by Congress at this time.” Another: “The President is issuing executive orders and regulations that exceed the parameters of the statutes that give the authority in the first place.”
And what would have to happen as a result of that? Exactly.
Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has employed similar talk about Obama’s alleged abuses of power and them needing to rush in to defend the Constitution. National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden reportedly told reporters on Tuesday that “impeachment is not on the table.” Back in 2010, Jonathan Chait predicted that Republicans would seek Obama’s impeachment if they wrestled away control of the House from Democrats. He based that assessment on select GOP congressman displaying a huge appetite to find some sort of scandal in the Obama administration.
Whether or not they actually go through with it doesn’t negate the point that certain Republicans have long sought to fish for information to attain that goal.
So it’s not just Democrats fanning the flames; it’s more like Republicans trying to cash in on the chatter that’s already going on. Of course, I’d love it if Democrats would shut up about impeachment too, but it’s not a conversation they started. Still, both sides all know it’s not going to happen, which is why it’s even more frustrating we have to even dissect petty lawsuits and partisan political fantasies.