A move to rally Republican base
As the battle over a major women's issue played out in the Senate, House Republicans took their first step to approve a lawsuit arguing Obama violated the Constitution by making changes to Obamacare on his own instead of allowing Congress to act.
House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions presided over a hearing with legal experts, and insisted the GOP move to sue was not about politics, but about protecting the authority of the legislative branch.
"The separated powers between these branches are there in order to ensure that no one person would trample on the rights of others," the Texas Republican said.
"My fear is that our nation is currently facing the exact threat that the Constitution is designed to avoid. Branches of government have always attempted to exert their influence on other branches, but the President, in my opinion, has gone too far," Sessions added.
But the top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Louise Slaughter, wasn't buying it.
The suit was being "used to appease members of the Republican party who will not rest until President Obama is charged with articles of impeachment," she said. "This is a partisan, political stunt, timed to peak in the House of Representatives in November right as the midterm elections are happening."
But both sides believe the suit will motivate voters. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released Web ads on Wednesday targeting 21 Republican incumbents and challengers with this message -- "Tell Republicans: Don't use our taxpayer dollars for your frivolous lawsuit."
As the hearing was about to start, the House GOP's campaign arm tweeted an "urgent" message urging supporters to sign an online petition with this: "Stand with House Republicans as they protect your constitutional liberties and the country from continued executive abuse."
The message was another tool for the campaign committee to gather names and contract information to help solicit money to support their candidates.
Despite the argument by Republican candidates that Obama and his party are failing a competency test on a range of issues from the economy to the immigration crisis at the Southwest border, Obamacare is still a foundation of their campaigns.
GOP candidates are expected to run ads focusing on the health law they despise, targeting specific problems voters in their districts are experiencing with it, such as cuts to a popular Medicare program.