U.S. Rep. Tom Rice told a room of constituents on Wednesday that one of the things he is most proud of accomplishing as a freshman congressman is getting a resolution passed that will allow the speaker of the House to sue the president.
That bill doesn’t actually have his name on it, but Rice, R-Myrtle Beach, said he didn’t do it for the recognition.
He told about 50 constituents that he drafted a bill last year to sue Barack Obama for what Rice says is the president’s disregard for the constitution and overreaching his power.
The town hall Wednesday afternoon at Boulineau’s Foods Plus in North Myrtle Beach was the last of about seven scheduled meetings with constituents this week throughout District 7.
Rice said last year, when he began discussing the idea of suing the president, that Obama violated the law when he delayed implementation of parts of the Affordable Care Act people viewed the suit as a long shot. Now, he said, the idea of a lawsuit has gained so much popularity among Republican congressmen that it could be filed as early as September.
“If a president has a right to do that, then ... there’s no limit to what the president can do,” Rice said. “[Speaker of the House John] Boehner took my name off of it and changed the bill number and filed it last week.”
Mary Ann Carnazza of Longs said she doesn’t think it’s realistic that the lawsuit will do any good.
“Realistically thinking, the possibility of it getting done, and getting it done before he’s out of office, isn’t high,” Carnazza said.
But Rice told her that the purpose of the lawsuit was to establish the “proper relationship between the executive branch and the legislative branch.”
Many of the people at the town hall said they were happy with the work Rice has done in Washington, D.C., though hoped he could do more.
Some in attendance bemoaned what they say is the party often pointing out problems but not offering solutions. But Rice said solutions have been offered.
“The intermediate solution that I started, that got filed last week is this lawsuit,” he said. “There’s a dispute. [Obama] says what he’s doing is constitutional. He says it’s within his purview. We say it’s not. So we need somebody to resolve that dispute.”
Other constituents pointed to a rift between the Tea Party and the rest of the Republican Party, saying that it will cause problems in the 2016 presidential race.
“Why are we fighting amongst ourselves?” Sterling Alexander said. “How are we going to defeat somebody like [Obama] if we’re fighting among ourselves? We need good leadership.”
Aileen Pearce of Longs said she hoped that Rice and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-North Charleston, could provide that leadership.
“What I’m hoping from everybody in Washington is that it needs to be about the people, not about the politicians,” she said. “There are a few good guys there. [Rice] is doing the best that he can.”