Barack Obama, left, and John Boehner, right.
Barack Obama, left, and John Boehner, right. (Photos: Diego M. Radzinschi/NLJ)

House Republicans moved a step closer Wednesday evening to filing a lawsuit against President Barack Obama over what they say amounts to a breach of constitutional duties to follow the law.

The chamber voted 225-201, with Democrats and five Republicans voting against the measure, to give authority to initiate litigation over executive actions. The vote came after a floor debate, at times heated, over whether the would-be suit had merit or was a political stunt.

Republicans intend to pursue a claim that Obama ignored statutory requirements of his signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act.

“It is the option most likely to clear the legal hurdles necessary to succeed and restore the balance between the branches intended by the founders,” Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, chairman of the House Rules Committee, said on the House floor. “This administration has effectively rewritten the law without following the constitutional process.”

House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. said at a press conference after the vote that the House of Representatives doesn’t have standing in court. She decried the use of time and money to sue the president.

“How much money is that, nobody knows,” Pelosi said. “This is endless, we don’t know how much it will cost, we don’t have money for our priorities, and this should not be a priority.”

Contact Todd Ruger at On Twitter: @ToddRuger.