A sharply divided House has approved a Republican plan to file an election-season federal lawsuit against President Barack Obama.
The suit will contend that Obama has exceeded his constitutional powers in the way he has enforced the 2010 health care law. The vote was 225 to 201.
Democrats say the suit is a campaign-year stunt designed to draw conservative voters to the polls in congressional elections.
In a statement, North Carolina Congressman Walter B. Jones says the lawsuit will cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
"This lawsuit is merely an act of political theater that is highly unlikely to result in any real consequences for an executive branch that continues to display a blatant disregard for the rule of law," says Congressman Jones. "While I strongly believe that the president must be held accountable for repeatedly ignoring the separation of powers and bypassing Congress to enact his liberal agenda, wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit that is unlikely to ever make it to court is not the appropriate method to do so. Rather, the House should act with the tools provided to the legislature by the Constitution - the power of impeachment and the power of the purse."
North Carolina Congressman G. K. Butterfield echoed that statement Wednesday evening.
"This nonsensical resolution will also give Speaker Boehner unbridled discretion and an open tab to incur legal costs that will add to the deficit Republicans incessantly bemoan," says Congressman Butterfield. "Never before in the history of the United States Congress has there been 'institutional litigation' between two equal branches of government."
Republicans say Obama has gone too far in selectively enforcing parts of the health overhaul, such as by delaying the requirement that many employers provide health insurance for their workers. They say they are protecting the Constitution's division of powers.