Broken branches and Obama drama

President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with Ethiopian President Hailemariam Desalegn to discuss the Ebola epidemic, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014 in New York. Seated with Obama are from left are, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, Secretary of State John Kerry, and National Security Adviser Susan Rice. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with Ethiopian President Hailemariam Desalegn to discuss the Ebola epidemic, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

With what seems like something out of a bad soap opera, the House of Representatives has decided to sue President Barack Obama for using executive actions dealing with Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act.

The lawsuit was decided with a 225-201 vote, and deals with the Obama administration’s use of executive action in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The administration has had to take these actions because of congressional inaction. Naturally, with any law of this complexity, questions are bound to surface about how the government plans to introduce it. Typically, in a functioning American democracy, Congress would pass new laws to deal with unforeseen problems while also having various solutions proposed, debated and voted upon. In the current political environment, however, this does not seem to be the case.

While the executive branch must enforce the laws Congress passes, it has some leeway in how the enforcement takes shape. The Obama administration has the power to clarify how the government is going to implement a law, and the administration has used this power as problems continue to arise. Because the Affordable Care Act was going to happen no matter how many times the Republicans in the House tried to repeal it, the administration had to adapt to make the application of this act as smooth as possible.

Because Republicans do not control both the Senate and the House, they are unable to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. In the past, they would have had to compromise with Democrats on how the Affordable Care Act would be implemented. Because there has been a refusal to compromise, Republicans have sought to force the issue. At best, this is an expensive attempt to bypass compromise in Washington D.C., and instead bring the issue in front of the court of unelected judges.

At worst, this is a politically motivated maneuver that will lay the groundwork for a case of impeachment against President Obama. If their lawsuit wins, which it most likely will not, Republicans will claim that this is evidence that President Obama has overstepped his constitutional authority and must be forced out of office.

There are already signs that the lawsuit is faltering, leading people to think that the House will not come out victorious. The lawyer who had been hired by House Republicans has quit. Also, a separate lawsuit, very similar to the one Speaker John Boehner intends to file was tossed out because they did not have the right to sue.

Despite these factors, the decision won’t be decided until after the election. The beauty of this frivolous Republican lawsuit is that it doesn’t have to win, filing the lawsuit alone will have three effects during the election: energizing Republican activists to fight against an “imperial” administration, allowing Republicans to continue to criticize the Affordable Care Act nearly half a decade after it was passed, and quelling the radical Tea Party elements of the Republican Party who are calling for the impeachment of President Obama, a putoff to moderate and independent voters.

In this regard, Speaker Boehner has played a most advantageous and politically useful hand. The lawsuit benefits Speaker Boehner and the Republicans running for re-election, but it will not benefit the people stuck with the tab, us. While lawsuits may be the answer for corporate America, it’s ludicrous when applied to the political realm, let alone our own president.