The House of Representatives has passed a resolution to sue President Barack Obama for allegedly exceeding his constitutional powers.
The 225-201 vote along party lines means House lawyers will now draft legal documents to launch a lawsuit.
Its supporters say Barack Obama exceeded his powers when he delayed an insurance deadline in his healthcare law.
Barack Obama himself has dismissed it as a waste of time.
“Everyone sees this as a political stunt,” he said.
“If they’re not going to do anything, we’ll do what we can on our own,” the president added.
“And we’ve taken more than 40 actions aimed at helping hardworking families like yours. That’s when we act – when your Congress won’t.”
The action is reportedly the first time either the House or Senate has brought legal action against a president over the legality of his powers, although members of Congress have sued the president before.
Republicans in Congress have complained that Barack Obama has exceeded his constitutional authority on numerous occasions, in order to bypass Congress by issuing executive orders.
They object, for instance, to his order unilaterally easing deportations of some young illegal immigrants, and the prison exchange that won the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl held captive for five years by the Taliban.
“This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. It’s about defending the Constitution we swore an oath to,” Speaker John Boehner said during an impassioned debate in the House on Wednesday evening.
“Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change?”
At issue was Barack Obama’s decision to twice delay requirements in his 2010 healthcare overhaul that businesses over a certain size provide their workers with health insurance.
Barack Obama has been forthright about his intentions to circumvent the gridlocked Congress when possible, noting frequently that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has declined even to hold votes on Senate-passed bills on topics from immigration reform to gay rights.
As far back as January, White House aides began referring to the president’s “pen and phone” strategy – using his telephone to convene meetings at the White House and his pen to sign executive orders and changes to federal regulations.
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