The suit accuses the administration of acting without congressional authority in delaying the employer mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act. It also challenges the administration's giveaway of $175 billion to insurance companies under the law because the funds weren't explicitly appropriated by Congress.
The move comes just hours after the president announced that he was taking executive action to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation, a step that Republicans also deem worthy of legal recourse because of his decision to bypass Congress. The GOP lawsuit does not, however, include immigration.
“Time after time, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and re-write federal law on his own without a vote of Congress," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement. "That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work. If this president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to as well. The House has an obligation to stand up for the Constitution, and that is exactly why we are pursuing this course of action.”
Republicans struggled to find representation for the case. Constitutional lawyer and separation of powers advocate Jonathan Turley signed on earlier this week after two major law firms dropped the case.
"Unilateral, unchecked Executive action is precisely the danger that the Framers sought to avoid in our constitutional system. This case represents a long-overdue effort by Congress to resolve fundamental Separation of Powers issues. In that sense, it has more to do with constitutional law than health care law," Turley said in a note about the issue on his blog.
Democrats dismissed the lawsuit as nothing more than a political stunt.
“The fact is, this lawsuit is a bald-faced attempt to achieve what Republicans have been unable to achieve through the political process," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. "The legislative branch cannot sue simply because they disagree with the way a law passed by a different Congress has been implemented. It is clear, as one leading legal scholar put it, that this lawsuit is ‘an embarrassing loser.’"