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Republicans File Suit Against Obama Administration Over Health Law

House Republicans on Friday followed through on a threat to sue President Obama over actions he has taken concerning the Affordable Care Act.

The lawsuit was filed in a federal court against the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Treasury.

"Time after time, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and rewrite federal law on his own without a vote of Congress," House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, said in announcing the lawsuit. "That's not the way our system of government was designed to work. If this president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to as well. The House has an obligation to stand up for the Constitution, and that is exactly why we are pursuing this course of action."

If you remember, the House voted last July to authorize a lawsuit. At the time, House Republicans complained that Obama had overstepped his authority when he on two occasions unilaterally delayed the employer mandate for insurance coverage under Obamacare.

The lawsuit challenges those extensions as well as the subsidies the government pays insurance companies on behalf of people who meet certain income requirements.

The New York Times reports:

"Democrats have cast a legal challenge as strange. Republicans, they say, are attacking Mr. Obama for delaying enforcement of a law that they vehemently oppose. The health care law was passed in 2010 without any Republican votes, and House Republicans have voted dozens of times to repeal all or part of it. ...

"House Republicans struggled to find a law firm willing to take their case. Two withdrew, but on Tuesday, Mr. Boehner hired Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University."

The move also comes just a day after President Obama announced a series of executive actions that would protect millions of immigrants from deportation.

Obama argued that the action was well within his authority, while Republicans have argued it's yet another example of Obama ruling by fiat.

In a press conference before the suit was filed, Boehner complained bitterly that Obama was undermining the rule of law and "damaging the presidency" by leap-frogging congress with his executive action.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.