Local lawmakers weigh in ahead of expected US House vote on laws - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Local lawmakers weigh in ahead of expected US House vote on lawsuit against Obama admin.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) said he expects the House to vote Wednesday on Speaker John Boehner's proposed lawsuit against the President.

Boehner and House Republicans allege the President improperly used his executive authority by circumventing congress on the decision to delay a portion of the Affordable Care Act requiring most employers to provide health insurance coverage for their workers.

Pocan, speaking from Washington, D.C. Tuesday, said his Republican colleagues are engaging in political posturing.

"This is just another attempt by Republicans to put out some fake issue, some straw man, to try and run on in the November elections," Pocan said. "We're going to be paying attorneys roughly $500 an hour to do this ridiculous, Don Quixotic political stunt by the GOP."

Pocan said he does not believe the President's decision to postpone implementation of the ACA's employer mandate violated any laws.

"The President has been doing everything within the law on this," he said.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) said he will back the lawsuit.

"I am very concerned about the administration exceeding the authority of the executive branch," Ryan said in a statement Tuesday.

"Traditionally, Congress would use the power of the purse given by the Constitution to keep the President in check. Unfortunately, the Senate is not interested in maintaining the prerogatives and the authority of the legislative branch, so Speaker Boehner was compelled to act," Ryan said. "I will support his efforts and vote for the resolution."

Dr. Charles Franklin, a professor of law and political science at the Marquette University Law School, said the proposed lawsuit makes for "good politics" on both sides of the political aisle.

"For Republican members of Congress, it's a way of showing they're taking action against Obama," Franklin said. "For Democrats, it's an argument saying 'look at what these Republicans are doing. Democrats really need to turn out this fall.'"

 Franklin said most presidents have historically used executive powers to influence pieces of legislation. He said that traditionally came through what are called "signing statements." Franklin said each signing statement is submitted along with a specific, signed bill detailing how a president interprets that specific piece of legislation.

Franklin said signing statements are often used by Presidents to modify the interpretation of bills but avoid vetoing them.

"Presidents have broad authority in executing the law as part of the executive branch," Franklin said. "So there's a lively debate here about how far that authority goes."

Franklin said George W. Bush, and later Barack Obama, greatly expanded the use of signing statements. But he said Republicans are hoping to argue that Obama has since broadened his powers to alter laws.

Franklin said Republicans believe Obama "has been modifying the law through executive action."

"That's what they want to take to court," he said.

Franklin said it's too early to speculate on how the legal battle might end. But he said the judiciary has a history of staying out of disputes between the legislative and executive branches.

If the House votes to move ahead with the lawsuit, a federal judge would then be tasked with ruling on whether the US House has the necessary standing to bring the suit. If the House proves the damages necessary to show standing both sides would be given the opportunity to make their cases in a federal courtroom.
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