File photo taken on July 18, 2014 shows U.S. President Barack Obama speaking in Washington D.C., the United States. The U.S. House on Wednesday approved a lawsuit against President Barack Obama over alleged abuse of executive power. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)
WASHINGTON, July 30 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. House on Wednesday approved a lawsuit against President Barack Obama over alleged abuse of executive power.
The 225-201 vote fell along party lines, with five Republicans voting against the measure while no Democrats supported it.
Last Thursday, the House Rules Committee approved at 7-4 vote a resolution allowing the full House to vote on authorizing the lawsuit against Obama, accusing him of abusing executive authority.
The lawsuit, dismissed by Obama and congressional Democrats as little more than election-year political theater, has further deepened the dispute between House Republicans and the Federal Government.
Republicans say they are simply holding the president accountable for circumventing Congress on a major policy change related to the implementation of Obama's healthcare reform bill.
A prime example of this, according to Republicans, was Obama's decision to delay provisions of the health care law that require most employers to provide insurance coverage for workers.
The provisions, requiring employers with 50 or more workers to provide insurance coverage, was slated to originally take effect this year, but it has been pushed back for gradual implementation in 2015 and 2016 -- after the midterm elections this fall, a decision that enraged Republicans.
Although initiating the lawsuit, House Speaker John Boehner has insisted he had no intention of moving an impeachment measure against Obama.
Boehner's words offered little assurance for Democratic leaders, who said the lawsuit was just the first step toward the Republicans' ultimate goal: the impeachment of Obama.
"This isn't about this lawsuit. You don't sue somebody unless you want to prove that they are wrong," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol.
This is about the road to impeachment, she said, adding that if it is not, the Speaker (Boehner) has to say one simple sentence: "Impeachment is off the table."
The lawsuit, while has been approved, will be sent to a federal judge to decide whether the chamber has legal standing to pursue the case.
Legal experts of the House now are split on the question of whether the House was sufficiently damaged by the delay.
If a judge rules that the House has standing, the lawsuit would move forward, with lawyers for the Obama administration and the House arguing their cases before a federal court. It could take months for the lawsuit to be argued and ruled on.
In addition, the cost of the lawsuit will also be a headache for the lawmakers. "It is unclear how much the lawsuit will cost because contracts with lawyers haven't been finalized and the length of the litigation is unknown," said House Administration Committee Chairwoman Candice Miller.