East Tennessee U.S. Rep. Phil Roe is supporting a measure that authorizes the U.S. House of Representatives to sue President Barack Obama for not enforcing the law. The measure was first introduced last week by Speaker of the House John Boehner. In his address to Congress Boehner accused Obama of circumventing the law and announced an upcoming vote on the measure.
Roe has issued a statement supporting the measure. “President Obama has repeatedly bypassed Congress and makes no secret about his ‘pen and phone’ plan to accomplish through executive orders—or selective enforcement of laws—what he cannot push through the Congress. This should be alarming for both Republicans and Democrats, as it sets a dangerous precedent for future governance. “
Boehner chided the president for “choosing to ignore or loosely interpreting the law, but none more disturbing than the actions he’s taken to rewrite his own signature health law, particularly the employer mandate provision.”
Boehner and other House Republicans oppose the Affordable Care Act due to provisions in the law that are in contrast to the Constitutional provision that ensures freedom of religion. The law stipulates that employers must provide health care for their employees that will cover all forms of contraception at no cost. However, some for-profit corporations have insisted they should not have to pay for all of these services—especially those that conflict with their religious beliefs.
Other business owners are battling it out in court opposing the law. Hobby Lobby CEO President Steve Green was given a temporary exemption last week from a requirement in the federal health care law that businesses must offer insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar emergency birth control methods or face steep fines. Green has long opposed some forms of contraception.
In an address before the House, Roe mentioned that “Recent Supreme Court decisions in both the NLRB case and the Hobby Lobby case are clear cut examples of the Administration acting in violation of our laws. Whether or not President Obama wants to admit it, the Constitution makes it very clear that his duty is to faithfully execute the law. There’s no clause in the Constitution about ignoring laws you don’t like or changing laws you championed because they don’t work.”
Should the bill pass, Obama would have the opportunity to veto itl. But his veto could be overturned by a majority vote in the Congress.
“It’s a shame that it’s come to this, but it’s painfully clear this president—a former lecturer in Constitutional law—plans to play by a different set of rules than any other president in American history,” Roe said. “I take my duty of upholding the Constitution very seriously, and I believe that allowing this to continue would be a disgrace to everything we stand for as a country.”