A U.S. judge on Thursday blasted the Obama administration’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives over the implementation of the Democratic president’s signature healthcare law.
Republicans in the House filed a lawsuit in November, saying administration officials unlawfully bypassed Congress.
At issue are executive changes authorizing Treasury payments to healthcare insurers without the funding being agreed by Congress and delaying implementation of the law’s employer mandate, which required employers with more than 50 employees to provide healthcare coverage.
U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer, appointed by Obama’s predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, repeatedly interrupted U.S. Justice Department lawyer Joel McElvain during the hearing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Justice Department lawyers argue that the House lacks standing to sue, citing a section of U.S. law that means the House would have to prove it has been directly harmed.
“So it is your position that if the House of Representatives affirmatively voted not to fund something … then that vote can be ignored by the administration, because after all, no one can sue them?” she asked.