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Against the über-presidency: Minnesota Republicans vote to sue Obama

Rep. Erik Paulsen called the suit a “measured” response to overreach by President Obama.

Republicans claim President Obama exceeded his constitutional authority by delaying implementation of sections of the Affordable Care Act.
REUTERS/Larry Downing
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“It’s tough for the legislative body to, one, pass laws in the first place, but then once they’re enacted, you’ve got an executive that might ignore parts of the law,” he said. “Well how does Congress respond? What authority do we have? It’s kind of a gray area in a lot of respects, but I think all presidents, there’s been more of a creep over time of more exertion outside of their ability under the Constitution.”

Rep. John Kline

“While members of Congress have sued the president many times in the past, this is the first time where we’ve done in what I think is the right way,” he said. “We’re going to come together and vote in the House, and so the House can bring suit with standing, and it will be interesting to see it unfold.”

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“I think it’s certainly a warning to any future president to stick within the bounds of the Constitution,” Paulsen said. “So this all kind of blends together, where Congress kind of pushes back against the president, no matter who is the president.”

Bachmann: defund and impeach lower-level officials

Bachmann voted to authorize the lawsuit, but she takes a fairly dim view on its overall usefulness. She said it’s unlikely to give House members the resolution they want — it’s possible the case won’t have standing in court, she said, and even if it does, the courts could take a long time to decide the case.

Rep. Michele Bachmann

House members should do more to respond to Obama, Bachmann said. Congress has the power of the purse, so she said lawmakers could defund sections of the government that carry out administrative actions Republicans believe to be improper, she said.

Bachmann also suggested the House consider impeaching members of the Obama administration who oversee those actions, but not Obama himself. She said it’s implausible to imagine the Senate removing Obama even if the House passes articles of impeachment, so House members should look to impeach officials under him instead (the impeachment process — the House impeaches and the Senate convicts and removes — is the same for lower-level officials as it is for the president).

“What would be most effective to rein in a lawless president would be to defund his initiatives and bring about impeachment proceedings against lower-level federal officials,” she said. “I don’t believe we should bring about impeachment against the president of the United States, because we do not have the power of removal.”

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Rep. Erik Paulsen

“Certainly Democrats have made it a stunt by raising money, or using it as a political issue,” he said. “I don’t think it’s political at all. If it’s political, Republicans would have acted on it right after the last election. But I think [leadership has] been much more measured in terms of the response.”