WASHINGTON — Casting Barack Obama as a president run amok, the House voted on Wednesday for a bill that would expedite congressional lawsuits against the chief executive for failure to enforce federal laws.
The vote was 233-181 in the Republican-led House as GOP lawmakers excoriated Obama for multiple changes to his 4-year-old health care law, steps he’s taken to allow young immigrants to remain in the United States and the administration’s resistance to defend the federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriage.
Ignoring a White House veto threat, the GOP maintained that the bill was necessary as the president has selectively enforced the nation’s laws.
“Throughout the Obama presidency we have seen a pattern: President Obama circumvents Congress when he doesn’t get his way,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Democrats countered that the legislation was merely election-year rhetoric to address a non-existent problem. The measure stands no chance in the Democratic-led Senate.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., defended Obama and said Republicans weren’t satisfied with a “do-nothing Congress,” they wanted to “have a do-nothing president.”
Once litigated in district court, any appeals would be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, highlighted past unilateral actions by chief executives, including President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declaring the freedom of all slaves and President Harry S. Truman’s integration of the military.
The Obama administration said in a statement that the bill exceeds constitutional limits, and Congress cannot assign additional powers to itself.
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