When House Speaker John Boehner announced his intention of leading the House of Representatives in a lawsuit against President Obama's "flippant dismissal of the Constitution," Boehner identified several possible grounds for the suit, including the president's failure to "faithfully [execute] the laws when it comes to a range of issues, including his health care law, energy regulations, foreign policy and education."
Yesterday that menu of options was narrowed down to one when Boehner released a draft House resolution "Providing for authority to initiate litigation for actions by the President inconsistent with his duties under the Constitution of the United States." Specifically, the resolution points to the president's "failure…to act in a manner consistent with that official's duties under the Constitution and laws of the United States with respect to implementation of (including a failure to implement) any provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."
That "failure to implement" refers to the White House's controversial unilateral action delaying implementation of Obamacare's employer mandate, the provision of the 2010 health care law requiring firms with 50 or more employees to provide qualifying coverage. As Peter Suderman noted in July 2013, the legality of that delay has always been in doubt. In fact, even Democratic supporters of the health care law have raised questions about the propriety of Obama's actions on that front. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), for example, declared, "This was the law. How can they change the law?"
How indeed? Perhaps we'll find out as the House's lawsuit moves forward.