House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he was “grateful to the court” and a White House spokesman mocked it as “just another partisan attack,” but a lawsuit by the House of Representatives against the administration over Obamacare funding has survived its first court test.
U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer, a Bush appointee, gave the green light to the lawsuit, which contends that the Obama administration acted unconstitutionally when it awarded funds to health insurance companies for premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The lawsuit maintains that all funding must originate in the House of Representatives according to the U.S. Constitution, and that the funds dispensed to the insurance companies were never approved by the House.
The judge agreed: “Neither the president nor his officers can authorize appropriations; the assent of the House of Representatives is required before any public monies are spent.”
White House attorneys argued that the suit represents mere political squabbling rather than constitutional issues, but the judge demurred, saying: “The mere fact that the House of Representatives is the plaintiff does not turn this suit into a non-justiciable political dispute.” She did, however, dismiss other parts of the lawsuit as not being constitutional issues.
Judge Collyer said the lawsuit would proceed in the fall. The White House vowed an immediate appeal.
Even if the lawsuit goes through and the White House loses, the ACA itself would remain intact, but the House of Representatives could refuse to appropriate funding for the premium subsidies.
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