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Boehner announces Obama lawsuit will focus on health care law delay

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July 10, 2014: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill.AP

House Speaker John Boehner outlined his strategy Thursday for pursuing a lawsuit against President Obama, saying the case will focus on the president’s “unilateral” changes to the health care law’s so-called employer mandate.

Until now, the speaker had not made clear which executive actions his proposed congressional lawsuit would challenge.

His office, releasing a draft resolution authorizing the suit, revealed Thursday that the crux of the case will be the Obama administration’s decision in 2013 to delay the requirement on certain employers to provide health coverage to workers.

“In 2013, the president changed the health care law without a vote of Congress, effectively creating his own law by literally waiving the employer mandate and the penalties for failing to comply with it.That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work. No president should have the power to make laws on his or her own,” Boehner said in a statement.

He added: “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 Legislative Branch, and the Constitution, and that is exactly what we will do.”

In response, the White House issued a statement saying, “It is disappointing that Speaker Boehner and Congressional Republicans have decided to waste time and taxpayer dollars on a political stunt. … As the President said today, he is doing his job – lawsuit or not – and it’s time Republicans in Congress did theirs."

Republicans have complained about a range of Obama administration executive actions, including with regard to regulations out of the Environmental Protection Agency. But the speaker’s office said they believe the challenge to the health care law changes has the best chance of success.

The speaker’s office argues that the president effectively created his own law by waiving the mandate and the penalties that come with it last year.

The delay last year came after concerns from the business community about the law’s requirement to provide coverage for full-time workers. The administration granted a second delay earlier this year, giving employers with between 50 and 99 workers until 2016 to comply.

Democrats have roundly ridiculed Boehner’s lawsuit.

In Austin, Texas, on Thursday, Obama said: “They actually plan to sue me. Now, I don’t know which things they find most offensive -- me helping to create jobs, or me raising wages, or me easing the student loan burdens, or me making sure women can find out whether they’re getting paid the same as men for doing the same job. I don’t know which of these actions really bug them.“

He claimed he’s been issuing executive orders at a lower rate than his predecessors.

“Maybe it’s just me they don’t like.I don’t know,” Obama said.

The resolution authorizing the lawsuit is expected to be taken up next Wednesday by the House Rules Committee. It would eventually have to be approved by the full House.

The draft resolution cites the speaker’s authority to seek relief regarding the “failure of the president” or any agency head to act “in a manner consistent with that official’s duties under the Constitution and laws of the United States” with regard to the Affordable Care Act.

In response to the draft resolution, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel issued a statement saying,“First this Republican Congress shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act and cost the economy billions of dollars. Now, they’re spending millions more to sue the president over ACA.Is there any question why a Congress that continues to force middle class families to foot the bill for their political stunts is the least popular in history?”