The vote almost immediately elicited an attack from his Democratic contender Sean Eldridge, saying it was a waste of time, money and proof of Gibson’s less- than-moderate status.
In an almost completely party-line vote, the motion to sue the president passed, 225-201. Five Republicans and all 196 Democrats voted against the measure.
The vote gave authority to Speaker of the House John Boehner to initiate litigation “for actions by the President or other executive branch officials inconsistent with their duties under the Constitution of the United States.” It authorizes the House to take on Obama about delaying a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that would require most employers to provide health insurance to their employees.
Shortly before the vote that occurred at 6:28 p.m., Gibson released a statement on his Facebook page explaining his vote to sue the president, saying it was “long overdue” but said his vote is not against Obama but against executive overreach dating back to World War II.
“When I state “long overdue” here, I am not referring to President Obama. I mean past Congresses should have reined in the President decades ago,” Gibson writes.
In a lengthy explanation, Gibson, from Kinderhook, frames his vote as a fight against the consolidation of executive power, referring entirely to the executive’s authority to go to war without Congressional approval. He doesn’t mention the intention of the particular lawsuit, aimed at the Affordable Care Act.
Gibson, who represents all of Sullivan and Ulster counties in the 19th Congressional District, is facing off against Eldridge from Shokan this November.
Eldridge released a statement similar to that of other House Democrats after the vote, saying there are “countless issues Congress should be working on, from rebuilding our infrastructure, to raising the minimum wage, and tackling comprehensive immigration reform. Instead, it’s more party politics and political gimmicks.”
He used the vote to try to paint Gibson as less moderate, a tactic he’s used throughout his campaign.
“Chris Gibson claims to be a moderate, No Labels representative for our district. Yet tonight, when five Republicans joined Democrats in voting against this senseless lawsuit, Chris Gibson was not one of them,” Eldridge writes.