Friday, July 11, 2014


I'm reading this and trying to figure out what John Boehner is up to:
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Thursday revealed that he plans to sue President Barack Obama for his unilateral delay of the Obamacare employer mandate....
Really? That's it? That's the basis of his lawsuit? When there was so much more to choose from?
Until Thursday, Boehner had been mum about what he considered to be the grounds for the legal action. Potential options included everything from Obama's actions on immigration to health care and the president’s decision to trade detainees in Guantanamo Bay for an American prisoner of war without notifying Congress.

But the lawsuit will ultimately focus solely on the delay of an Obamacare provision that required most businesses to provide health insurance.
Breitbart is already howling about the fact that immigration isn't in the bill, and wasn't even mentioned in a Boehner memo to members of the House:
On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) left out immigration in a draft resolution that authorized the House of Representatives to sue Obama for having "unilaterally changed the employer mandate" in the Obamacare law....

On June 25, Boehner sent a memo to House colleagues on the separation of powers to preview his lawsuit, and he did not mention immigration then either.

"On matters ranging from health care and energy to foreign policy and education, President Obama has repeatedly run an end-around on the American people and their elected legislators, straining the boundaries of the solemn oath he took on Inauguration Day," Boehner wrote, conspicuously leaving out immigration....
I assume Boehner's trying to dole out the smallest quantity of red meat he can to keep the crazies from being ravenous. I assume he's trying to find some sweet spot where this effort is crazy enough for the crazies but not too crazy for the Beltway establishment; a suit over this provision is so dull that it seems to pass the latter test, yet the suit is about the hated Obamacare, so maybe it's enough to pass the former. And I think he's dodging immigration because he agrees with the establishment that the GOP has to seem more welcoming to Hispanics.

There could be some mission creep, however -- as Dave Weigel notes, Boehner's draft resolution doesn't specify that the suit will be limited to the delay of the employer mandate. The resolution empowers the House to sue over implementation of
any provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and title I and subtitle B of title II of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, including any amendment made by such provision.
(Emphasis added.)

So Boehner's announcement that the suit will be just about the employer mandate lands as an intentional damp squib, making the whole thing seem like harmless stunt politics, while the draft resolution enables the House to participate in any Obamacare suit. And I do mean "participate in" -- the language of the resolution says that the House "may initiate or intervene in one or more civil actions on behalf of the House of Representatives" regarding Obamacare. So joining someone else's suit is a distinct possibility (or even joining multiple suits attacking multiple aspects of the law).

The point is that the legal eagles of the conservative movement are attacking Obamacare from a lot of different angles, any one of which could be the Roberts Court's way of finally killing it. Unlike most liberals, I continue to think that Obamacare might ultimately be overturned -- though I think the strategy on the right at this point is to let the courts do it, rather than elected officials. The party as a whole probably doesn't want to run on the "accomplishment" of having thrown millions of people off the employment rolls -- but maybe members of the House, with their gerrymandered, blood-red districts, wouldn't mind running reelection campaigns after being parties to the suit that made Obamacare fall.

So that's where we are now on this front. I imagine the crazies will amend Boehner's legislative draft and add a few crazier provisions to it -- but he's started with a bid that lowballs the crazy. As I keep saying, he's got enough low cunning to have kept his job in this crazy environment, so I continue to think he knows what he's doing.


Victor said...

To paraphrase David Bowie:
The low cunning of an orange-skinned pol.

This is all stupid of course.

But, with conservatives stacked at every level of our Federal Courts, this might just work.

Bulworth said...

Didn't business groups request the administration to delay the mandate?

Who's supposed to hear this case? SCOTUS?

And what are the "damages" they're seeking? Is Obama supposed to pay a fine?

Nefer said...

I thought the republican house demanded and voted to delay the employer mandate?

gocart mozart said...

Disappointed it was not immigration. I was looking forward to the "Why is Obama following the Law! IMPEACH !!!!" arguments from the howler monkeys.

Also, Victor, Traffic not Bowie, Re: "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" paraphrase.

Victor said...

Thanks, I thought Bowie wrote that tune.


He did write Mott the Hoople's "All the Young Dudes."
Or am I wrong about that too?

Unknown said...

Yup, you're right about that, Vic. He did indeed write "All the Young Dudes" and produced the album of the same name as well.

Victor said...

Thank you, Erik!

I'm getting old.
My mind used to be like a steel-trap!
Now, it's more like a spaghetti strainer...