Official White House Photo by Pete Souz(WASHINGTON) — In a partisan vote that marks a new escalation in the Republican confrontation with President Obama, the House of Representatives approved a resolution to authorize Speaker John Boehner to initiate litigation against the president over allegations he’s repeatedly overstepped his constitutional authority.

At issue is President Obama’s changing of the Affordable Care Act law related to its penalty against businesses that do not offer health care to their employees.

The provision — and the economic impact from its proposed penalty — was twice delayed by the Obama administration; critics allege that was done to shield Democrats from blowback at the ballot box. Because of the changes, the provision will now take effect in 2016.

In a floor speech during debate on the bill, Boehner said the vote was not about differences between Republicans and Democrats, but was, “about defending the Constitution that we swore an oath to uphold, and acting decisively when it may be compromised.”

“No member of this body needs to be reminded of what the Constitution states about the president’s obligation to faithfully execute the laws of our nation. No member needs to be reminded of the bonds of trust that have been frayed, of the damage that’s already been done to our economy and to our people,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change? Are you willing to let anyone tear apart what our founders have built?”

Five Republicans joined a unanimous Democratic Caucus in opposition to the resolution.

Throughout the week, Democrats have complained that Republicans will potentially waste millions of dollars with what they called a “political stunt” that they believe will put the GOP on track to impeach the president.

“This lawsuit is frivolous. It is also wasteful and without merit,” Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Texas, claimed during debate on the bill, which he voted against. “We must focus on critical legislative priorities instead of political lawsuits that will do nothing but waste millions of taxpayers’ dollars.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, who also voted against the measure, questioned whether the House even has standing to sue the president over what he termed “a policy difference.”

“The House cannot speak for the Senate which doesn’t agree with its position, and, therefore, cannot represent the legislative branch,” Schiff, D-California, said during debate on the bill. “This Congress has a remedy: if it does not like the way in which the president has implemented the Affordable Care Act, it can change the law. That would be a far better approach, one more consistent with our separation of powers than this expensive and ill-conceived lawsuit.”

Boehner will not bring the matter up for a vote before the Bipartisan Legal Advisor Group, known as BLAG. Instead, the next step will either be the House general counsel either files or hires outside counsel, according to a Boehner spokesman.

According to Boehner spokesman Michael Steel, the speaker and his team, “decided a BLAG vote was unnecessary, after consulting legal experts.”

“The BLAG will not have to meet,” Steel says. “We have greater standing if it’s an act of the whole House.”

A U.S. District Court judge will have the final word whether the House actually has standing to sue the president, but Wednesday’s vote to sue the president will almost certainly be one of the recurring soundtracks during the 97-day countdown to the fall elections.

Immediately following the vote, Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, sent out a fundraising email with the subject line “Give Obama Hell!” that sought to stimulate 1,500 new grassroots supporters.

The White House, meanwhile, reacted quickly, soliciting email addresses on its website but also making clear that the president will continue to take executive actions if Congress continues to block him legislatively.

“President Obama is ready and willing to work with Republicans in Congress if they decide to get serious and do something for the American people,” the statement read. “But he is also committed to acting however he can to help more working families — even as Congress won’t.”

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souz(WASHINGTON) — In a partisan vote that marks a new escalation in the Republican confrontation with President Obama, the House of Representatives approved a resolution to authorize Speaker John Boehner to initiate litigation against the president over allegations he’s repeatedly overstepped his constitutional authority.

At issue is President Obama’s changing of the Affordable Care Act law related to its penalty against businesses that do not offer health care to their employees.

The provision — and the economic impact from its proposed penalty — was twice delayed by the Obama administration; critics allege that was done to shield Democrats from blowback at the ballot box. Because of the changes, the provision will now take effect in 2016.

In a floor speech during debate on the bill, Boehner said the vote was not about differences between Republicans and Democrats, but was, “about defending the Constitution that we swore an oath to uphold, and acting decisively when it may be compromised.”

“No member of this body needs to be reminded of what the Constitution states about the president’s obligation to faithfully execute the laws of our nation. No member needs to be reminded of the bonds of trust that have been frayed, of the damage that’s already been done to our economy and to our people,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change? Are you willing to let anyone tear apart what our founders have built?”

Five Republicans joined a unanimous Democratic Caucus in opposition to the resolution.

Throughout the week, Democrats have complained that Republicans will potentially waste millions of dollars with what they called a “political stunt” that they believe will put the GOP on track to impeach the president.

“This lawsuit is frivolous. It is also wasteful and without merit,” Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Texas, claimed during debate on the bill, which he voted against. “We must focus on critical legislative priorities instead of political lawsuits that will do nothing but waste millions of taxpayers’ dollars.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, who also voted against the measure, questioned whether the House even has standing to sue the president over what he termed “a policy difference.”

“The House cannot speak for the Senate which doesn’t agree with its position, and, therefore, cannot represent the legislative branch,” Schiff, D-California, said during debate on the bill. “This Congress has a remedy: if it does not like the way in which the president has implemented the Affordable Care Act, it can change the law. That would be a far better approach, one more consistent with our separation of powers than this expensive and ill-conceived lawsuit.”

Boehner will not bring the matter up for a vote before the Bipartisan Legal Advisor Group, known as BLAG. Instead, the next step will either be the House general counsel either files or hires outside counsel, according to a Boehner spokesman.

According to Boehner spokesman Michael Steel, the speaker and his team, “decided a BLAG vote was unnecessary, after consulting legal experts.”

“The BLAG will not have to meet,” Steel says. “We have greater standing if it’s an act of the whole House.”

A U.S. District Court judge will have the final word whether the House actually has standing to sue the president, but Wednesday’s vote to sue the president will almost certainly be one of the recurring soundtracks during the 97-day countdown to the fall elections.

Immediately following the vote, Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, sent out a fundraising email with the subject line “Give Obama Hell!” that sought to stimulate 1,500 new grassroots supporters.

The White House, meanwhile, reacted quickly, soliciting email addresses on its website but also making clear that the president will continue to take executive actions if Congress continues to block him legislatively.

“President Obama is ready and willing to work with Republicans in Congress if they decide to get serious and do something for the American people,” the statement read. “But he is also committed to acting however he can to help more working families — even as Congress won’t.”

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US Senator Barbara Boxer(WASHINGTON) — Environmental Protection Agency hearings are discussing a proposed rule that would limit carbon pollution from power plants.

The proposal, from the Obama administration, would cut pollution 30% by 2030.

Senator Barbara Boxer supports the proposal, saying it would save and improve thousands of lives.

“It will avoid up to 3,700 cases of bronchitis in children; 150,000 asthma attacks; 3,300 heart attacks; 6,600 premature deaths and 490,000 missed days of school and work,” Boxer said.

Boxer cited a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll that reported about 70% of Americans believe such a rule is needed.

The June poll found 57% of Republicans, 76% of Independents, and 79% of Democrats support limiting greenhouse gases from existing power plants.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A group of bipartisan senators introduced a bill Wednesday to curb sexual assaults occurring on college campuses.

“If you are a young woman and you attend school, the odds jump that you will be sexually assaulted at school, probably by someone you know from your class, from a team, from a party,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said. “The price of a college education should not be that one in five women will be sexually assaulted.”

“We are telling our young people every day that in order to get ahead they have to go to school. Let’s make sure that when they do that they’re safe,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said.

“We are done with the days of asking victims why they drank too much, or wore the wrong thing or went to the wrong place or hung out with the wrong guy,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said. “Those days are done and students are embracing a new culture of accountability that will be enforced through this measure.”

The measure, called the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA), will create new support services for victims of sexual assault on college campuses, including designating Confidential Advisors for students to speak with, and ensures on-campus staff will received specialized training on handling sexual assault cases.

It also requires colleges and universities to survey all of their students on their experiences with sexual violence on campus; requires the Department of Education to release the names of schools with pending investigations into their handling of sexual assault cases; increases coordination between colleges and law enforcement; removes the ability of athletic departments to handle sexual assault cases involving athletes; and institutes a penalty for schools that don’t comply with Title IX.

The senators were joined by survivors of sexual assault, who detailed the responses they received when they reported their assaults.

“When I reported that I was sexually assaulted, someone told me that rape was like a football game and that I should look back on that game to figure out what I would do differently in that situation,” Annie Clark, a former student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said.

“One Sunday morning my sophomore year at Carolina, I woke up in a bed soaked in blood with bruises of my attacker. My body was covered in bruises and far away from home, I was alone in my recovery, told by my administrators that I could just not handle college,” Andrea Pino, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said.

The co-sponsors of the bill include Sens. Gillibrand, Blumenthal, Rubio, Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Dean Heller, R-N.V., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Mark Warner, D-Va.

The bill comes weeks after a Senate subcommittee released a survey finding that 41 percent of institutions didn’t conduct a single investigation of sexual assault on their campuses in the past five years.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A group of bipartisan senators introduced a bill Wednesday to curb sexual assaults occurring on college campuses.

“If you are a young woman and you attend school, the odds jump that you will be sexually assaulted at school, probably by someone you know from your class, from a team, from a party,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said. “The price of a college education should not be that one in five women will be sexually assaulted.”

“We are telling our young people every day that in order to get ahead they have to go to school. Let’s make sure that when they do that they’re safe,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said.

“We are done with the days of asking victims why they drank too much, or wore the wrong thing or went to the wrong place or hung out with the wrong guy,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said. “Those days are done and students are embracing a new culture of accountability that will be enforced through this measure.”

The measure, called the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA), will create new support services for victims of sexual assault on college campuses, including designating Confidential Advisors for students to speak with, and ensures on-campus staff will received specialized training on handling sexual assault cases.

It also requires colleges and universities to survey all of their students on their experiences with sexual violence on campus; requires the Department of Education to release the names of schools with pending investigations into their handling of sexual assault cases; increases coordination between colleges and law enforcement; removes the ability of athletic departments to handle sexual assault cases involving athletes; and institutes a penalty for schools that don’t comply with Title IX.

The senators were joined by survivors of sexual assault, who detailed the responses they received when they reported their assaults.

“When I reported that I was sexually assaulted, someone told me that rape was like a football game and that I should look back on that game to figure out what I would do differently in that situation,” Annie Clark, a former student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said.

“One Sunday morning my sophomore year at Carolina, I woke up in a bed soaked in blood with bruises of my attacker. My body was covered in bruises and far away from home, I was alone in my recovery, told by my administrators that I could just not handle college,” Andrea Pino, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said.

The co-sponsors of the bill include Sens. Gillibrand, Blumenthal, Rubio, Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Dean Heller, R-N.V., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Mark Warner, D-Va.

The bill comes weeks after a Senate subcommittee released a survey finding that 41 percent of institutions didn’t conduct a single investigation of sexual assault on their campuses in the past five years.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — They say that history repeats itself, but when it comes to impeachment, Republicans may have learned their lesson the first time.

House Speaker John Boehner insisted Tuesday that Republicans had “no plans to impeach the president,” calling talk of removing President Obama from office “a scam started by Democrats at the White House.”

But Dan Pfeiffer, a senior White House adviser, told reporters last Friday the House has “opened the door” to impeaching the president by filing a lawsuit against him over changes made to the health care law that were not approved by Congress.

So why are Republican leaders apparently steering away from trying to oust the president?

One reason may be that it didn’t make too many people happy the last time.

With midterms around the corner and a majority in the Senate up for grabs, Republicans have a lot of chips on the table. The GOP needs public opinion on their side, and based on what happened last time, impeachment likely won’t get them there.

The GOP-controlled House impeached former President Bill Clinton in December 1998. But the American people didn’t seem to side with the Republicans.

Almost six in 10 Americans said they were dissatisfied — or even angry — when the House voted to impeach Clinton. And 62 percent disapproved of how Senate Republicans handled the following trial.

And only a third wanted the Senate to remove him from office over the Monica Lewinsky affair.

What’s more, six in 10 Americans said the House voted to impeach Clinton based on partisan politics instead of the facts of the case and 74 percent thought the same thing about the Senate.

The number of Americans identifying themselves as Republicans fell to match a then 15-year low at the time of the impeachment vote — a potential shot in the foot at a time when Republicans were working to unify their base.

Of course, there would be several differences this time around: for example, Clinton’s approval rating was a solid 67 percent at the time of his impeachment, while Obama’s now is 46 percent.

But few observers believe that Republicans who are looking to mobilize a splintered electorate and pick up the six seats they need to win control of the Senate see an impeachment battle as the way forward.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Former Internal Revenue Service senior official Lois Lerner apparently believed conservatives were “a–holes” and “crazies,” according to emails released by the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., released a redacted email exchange from Lerner’s official IRS email account that Republicans believe shows she held personal bias and hostility against conservatives.

In the Nov. 9, 2012 email evidently sent while Lerner was vacationing in England, she appeared to refer to conservatives as “a–holes” and suggest they could cause the downfall of the federal government.

“So we don’t need to worry about alien teRrorists. (sic) It’s our own crazies that will take us down,” Lerner wrote in an email to a recipient whose identity was redacted. A Republican aide at the Ways and Means Committee said the person Lerner was emailing was not an agency employee.

The unknown person said American talk radio shows were “scary to listen to” and said callers to those shows were “rabid.”

The House voted earlier this year to find Lerner in contempt of Congress and also, on a separate resolution, to request that Holder appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups and possible criminal wrongdoing at the IRS.

So far, Holder, who is also the target of articles impeachment in the House, has maintained that he will not comply with the House’s request.

“Despite the serious investigation and evidence this committee has undertaken into the IRS’ targeting of individuals for their beliefs, there is no indication that DOJ is taking this matter seriously,” Camp said. “In light of this new information, I hope DOJ will aggressively pursue this case and finally appoint a special counsel, so the full truth can be revealed and justice is served.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Former Internal Revenue Service senior official Lois Lerner apparently believed conservatives were “a–holes” and “crazies,” according to emails released by the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., released a redacted email exchange from Lerner’s official IRS email account that Republicans believe shows she held personal bias and hostility against conservatives.

In the Nov. 9, 2012 email evidently sent while Lerner was vacationing in England, she appeared to refer to conservatives as “a–holes” and suggest they could cause the downfall of the federal government.

“So we don’t need to worry about alien teRrorists. (sic) It’s our own crazies that will take us down,” Lerner wrote in an email to a recipient whose identity was redacted. A Republican aide at the Ways and Means Committee said the person Lerner was emailing was not an agency employee.

The unknown person said American talk radio shows were “scary to listen to” and said callers to those shows were “rabid.”

The House voted earlier this year to find Lerner in contempt of Congress and also, on a separate resolution, to request that Holder appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups and possible criminal wrongdoing at the IRS.

So far, Holder, who is also the target of articles impeachment in the House, has maintained that he will not comply with the House’s request.

“Despite the serious investigation and evidence this committee has undertaken into the IRS’ targeting of individuals for their beliefs, there is no indication that DOJ is taking this matter seriously,” Camp said. “In light of this new information, I hope DOJ will aggressively pursue this case and finally appoint a special counsel, so the full truth can be revealed and justice is served.”

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The White House(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) — With just two days left until Congress goes on vacation, President Obama on Wednesday urged lawmakers to get to work and “stop just hatin’ all the time.”

“We could do so much more if Congress would just come on and help out a little bit,” Obama said, chuckling. “Stop being mad all the time. …I’ve only got a couple years left. Come on, then you can be mad at the next president.”

In a rowdy, campaign-style speech before a packed house at the Uptown Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, the president slammed Republicans for wasting time on a “political stunt.”

“The main vote that they’ve scheduled for today is whether or not they decide to sue me for doing my job,” he said, to boos from the crowd.

“It’s not a productive thing to do,” he added. “Instead of suing me for doing my job, I want Congress to do its job.”

Obama touted his executive actions and efforts to circumvent gridlock in Congress, declaring, “We act when Congress won’t.”

“They are mad because I’m doing my job,” he said. “And by the way, I’ve told them, ‘I’d be happy to do it with you. The only reason I’m doing it on my own is because you don’t do anything.’”

“Imagine how much further along we’d be, how much stronger our economy would be, if Congress was doing its job, too,” the president said.

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The White House(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) — With just two days left until Congress goes on vacation, President Obama on Wednesday urged lawmakers to get to work and “stop just hatin’ all the time.”

“We could do so much more if Congress would just come on and help out a little bit,” Obama said, chuckling. “Stop being mad all the time. …I’ve only got a couple years left. Come on, then you can be mad at the next president.”

In a rowdy, campaign-style speech before a packed house at the Uptown Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, the president slammed Republicans for wasting time on a “political stunt.”

“The main vote that they’ve scheduled for today is whether or not they decide to sue me for doing my job,” he said, to boos from the crowd.

“It’s not a productive thing to do,” he added. “Instead of suing me for doing my job, I want Congress to do its job.”

Obama touted his executive actions and efforts to circumvent gridlock in Congress, declaring, “We act when Congress won’t.”

“They are mad because I’m doing my job,” he said. “And by the way, I’ve told them, ‘I’d be happy to do it with you. The only reason I’m doing it on my own is because you don’t do anything.’”

“Imagine how much further along we’d be, how much stronger our economy would be, if Congress was doing its job, too,” the president said.

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