A federal district judge from the nation’s capital sided with House Republicans Sept. 9 by granting an early victory to the GOP over their lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act and President Barack Obama’s use of executive power.
Judge Rosemary Collyer said that House Republicans have the right to challenge the law’s methods of health care payments – through subsidies that assisted low-income individuals. Collyer’s decision allows challengers of the health care law to try again in the courts to remove some of the law’s actions.
The secretaries of Health and Human Services and Treasury, Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Jack Lew, respectively, approved $175 billion in federal spending for subsidies to pay for health care for low-income Americans. However, the spending was not authorized by Congress, leaving legal grounds for the GOP to sue the Obama administration’s signature domestic achievement.
In the lawsuit, the House asks the court to state that the president acted outside the scope of the powers granted to him in the U.S. Constitution by making payments to insurance companies and to stop the payments altogether, Roll Call reported.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said the court’s decision showcases a “historic overreach can be challenged by a coequal branch of government with the sole power to create or change the law. The House will continue our effort to ensure the separation of powers in our democratic system remains clear, as the Framers intended.”
In her ruling, Collyer noted the House’s legitimate objections.
“The House sues, as an institutional plaintiff, to preserve its power of the purse and to maintain constitutional equilibrium between the executive and the legislative,” she said. “If its non-appropriation claims have merit … the House has been injured in a concrete and particular way.”
“Despite its potential political ramifications, this suit remains a plain dispute over a constitutional command, of which the judiciary has long been the ultimate interpreter,” she added. “The court is also assured that this decision will open no floodgates, as it is inherently limited by the extraordinary facts of which it was born.”