38 Republicans Back Sen. Ron Johnson's Executive Overreach Lawsuit

Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 09:06 PM

By Greg Richter

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Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson has found 38 fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill to sign on to his lawsuit fighting what he calls executive overreach.

Johnson filed the lawsuit in January against U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta and her department over a rule allowing members of Congress and their staff members to receive subsidies for their health care coverage if they chose plans through Obamcare exchanges.

Johnson argues that Congress debated that issue and decided not to allow for such subsidies. If the Obama administration wants to change the law, he says, they should go through the proper process.

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A diverse group of GOP lawmakers, from Arizona Sen. John McCain to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, have signed the amicus or "friend of the court" brief.

"We've done a pretty good job of uniting the Republican Party there in Congress," Johnson said Tuesday on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren." 

"Even though this will be contrary to their own financial best interests and the financial best interests of their staff, [they] realize what is at stake here is literally the constitutional balance, the constitutional framework of this nation."

The Justice Department filed a motion to dismiss, saying that Johnson has no standing to file the suit since he isn't directly affected.

Once the filings are complete, Johnson told Fox News he hopes to have a ruling within the next three to four months. The case is before Chief Judge William C. Griesbach in the U.S. District Court's Eastern Wisconsin district.

Johnson didn't get support from the majority of members of his party, including Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, who encouraged him to drop the suit because it would fail.

Johnson told Van Susteren that his efforts also were blocked by staff members who would be affected negatively. In one case, a House member had agreed to sign the amicus brief, but his staff told Johnson he couldn't. Johnson had to call the congressman directly to override his staff.

The lawsuit is not an isolated incident, the lawmakers say in their brief.

"Rather, it is part of an ongoing campaign by the Executive Branch to rewrite the Affordable Care Act ['ACA'] on a wholesale basis," they say. "If left unchecked, that campaign threatens to subvert the most basic precept of our system of government: The President of the United States is constitutionally obligated to take care that the law be faithfully executed; he does not have the power to modify or ignore laws that have been duly enacted by Congress and that he believes are constitutional."

Twelve senators and 26 House members signed the brief. Among them are Sens. Cruz, McCain, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Tim Scott of South Carolina, and Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, David Jolly of Florida, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Matt Salmon of Arizona.

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