House Speaker John Boehner’s lawsuit against President Barack Obama picked up steam Thursday as House Republicans voted to authorize the suit, leaving many wondering if this is Republicans’ first step towards impeachment.
The lawsuit itself focuses on certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act that were delayed through executive order. If successful, the lawsuit will force Obama to more quickly enforce the employer mandate that requires all businesses with over 50 full-time employees to either provide health insurance, or else pay a monthly “Employer Shared Responsibility Payment” on their federal tax returns. The mandate was originally to start in 2014, but was delayed by the President. The Obama Administration claimed that the delay was necessary in order to allow businesses the time needed to comply with the new law, as well as allowing them more choices in the health insurance marketplace. Republicans, however, insisted that it was a sign that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was simply not ready, and that it placed an unfair burden on individuals while allowing businesses another year to avoid the costs of health insurance.
Boehner insists that impeachment is not on the table, but many believe that it is simply because the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, would shut the impeachment process down, and that the lawsuit against Obama is a step towards gathering evidence that Obama has overreached his executive powers in hopes that the Senate will become controlled by Republicans during the mid-term elections. The House of Representatives has the power to impeach, but it is the Senate that convicts, and a two-thirds majority (or 67 votes) is needed for conviction. If Republicans take the House in 2016, however, the path to impeachment and conviction becomes a lot easier and the White House is taking the threat of impeachment seriously.
Others believe that Boehner’s lawsuit is meant to quiet the clamoring from the right for impeachment.
House and Senate Democrats believe that Boehner’s lawsuit is both more and less than a step towards impeachment, claiming that it is simply a political stunt being played out before midterms, and the majority of Americans agree. Democrats have been quick to point out that Boehner is suing to more quickly implement a mandate in a law that he and House Republicans have held 54 votes to either change or repeal, spending millions in taxpayer dollars for votes that were largely symbolic. In fact, House Republicans voted in favor of the exact delay in the employer mandate that Boehner is now suing the President over.
Boehner maintains that his lawsuit is focused on his concern with Obama’s executive overreach, claiming that his use of executive orders to change laws in unconstitutional, which is one of the many reasons Republicans have called for Obama’s impeachment.
What do you think? Is Boehner’s lawsuit a way to introduce impeachment? Is there a legitimate reason to impeach Obama?