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House Republicans last week overwhelmingly endorsed suing President Barack Obama for delaying part of the Affordable Care Act, a law Republicans hate and condemn and voted 50 times to repeal. So, really, the president did exactly what the GOP claims it wants. But they’re suing anyway.

On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Republicans last week prevented repair of a law that 99.99 percent of Americans hate and condemn and would vote 50 times to repeal, given the chance. The GOP blocked a bill that would have ended tax breaks bestowed on corporations for offshoring factories and jobs.

Only one Senate Republican voted for the Bring Jobs Home Act – the bill that would have replaced corporate reprobate rebates with rewards for firms that move factories back to America. Americans of all political persuasions object to paying higher taxes to offset the cost of coddling corporate defectors. The GOP’s filibustering of this bill is dereliction of duty. So let’s sue. And look at it this way, even if this is a lost cause – and it is – the more time Republicans must spend in court, the less time they have to obstruct the will of the people.

In his very first campaign, President Obama promised to end tax gifts presented to corporations that abandon America and take up with foreign countries. He said he wanted to provide instead incentives to corporations that re-embraced America, returning home. 

It made perfect sense. Why should American workers subsidize corporations for closing American factories, killing American jobs, destroying American communities and moving overseas? For 2.9 million Americans, that is not a hypothetical annoyance. Over the past decade, that’s how many American jobs U.S. corporations cut as they created 2.4 million overseas.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney embodied the Senate GOP position. The issue smacked him in the face when workers at a Freeport, Ill., factory pleaded with him to intervene on their behalf to stop their employer, Sensata, from sending their factory and their jobs to China.

The workers turned to Romney because the private equity firm he founded, Bain Capital, owned Sensata. It bought the Illinois facility in 2010 and immediately told the 170 workers there that it planned to close the factory and move the auto sensor-manufacturing equipment to China by the end of 2012.

As Romney campaigned in 2012, Sensata ferried Chinese nationals to Freeport and ordered the Illinois workers to train them on equipment that the company was preparing to transport to a new plant constructed for it by the Chinese government in Jiangsu Province.

To make the desertion even easier for Sensata, the American government would allow the corporation to write off some of the cost of the move for tax purposes. It’s a little bon voyage present paid for by American taxpayers who suffer when corporations move offshore.

That’s the very practice candidate Obama said he wanted to stop and that Senate Democrats, led by Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, John Walsh of Montana and Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada tried to end with the Bring Jobs Home Act.

Romney refused to intervene with his private equity firm to help the Illinois workers. And, similarly, Republicans in the Senate, except for Susan Collins of Maine, filibustered the Bring Jobs Home Act. A comfortable majority of 54 U.S. Senators supported it, but a minority of 42 Republicans stood in the way. They should be sued for forcing U.S. workers to help bankroll corporate abandonment of America.

Some Republican Senators stomped their feet and demanded continued subsidies for offshoring of jobs unless the entire tax code was overhauled, a feat that seems, well, somewhat unlikely from this record-breaking, do-nothing, Republican-thwarted Congress.

Other Republicans protested the cost. It’s true that over a decade, the change from tax breaks for offshorers to tax breaks for onshorers was projected by the Joint Committee on Taxation to cost $214 million. That’s million, not billion. And it’s over a decade, so $21.4 million a year.

That’s not chump change, but for comparison purposes, the state of Tennessee gave Volkswagen $165.8 million this year to expand its Chattanooga assembly plant. In 2008, Tennessee gave VW $577 million to build the factory in the state. That’s more than $742 million from one state to one company over six years, or, to put it another way, $123 million a year. That’s nearly six times the annual national cost of the Bring Jobs Home Act.

Still, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, who was so instrumental in rounding up and handing over all of that Tennessee tax money to VW, voted against the Bring Jobs Home Act.

So, sue him, right? Because there’s something deeply wrong with forcing Tennessee taxpayers to spend hundreds of millions to bring jobs to their state, and, at the same time, subsidize corporations moving jobs out of the state and the country.

This is a defining vote. It shows Democrats supporting American jobs, American industry, American workers and American communities. It shows Republicans indulging corporations, no matter what they do, no matter how destructive their decisions are to the country.

Send the GOP a message. A lawsuit would be one gesture. But big time election losses would work better. 


Corporations' only responsibility is to fill shareholder pockets with gold. How and where they do that is their business.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent. Do it. Even though... (15+ / 0-)

    ... Representatives and Senators are immune to civil or criminal liability for anything they do in either institution, we can still sue the GOP itself, the party apparatus, for the policies that its flunkies in Congress follow.

    Know what? I think that might even have a decent chance of getting heard in court.

    But whoever puts their name on it ought to be judgement proof (too poor to countersue or stick with the costs if it fails), and the law firm needs to take it pro bono.

    We got the future back. Uh-oh.

    by G2geek on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:19:17 AM PDT

    •  I still say Small Claims Court. (6+ / 0-)

      You ... we ... May lose but it's great theatre.

      E.g. sue Andy Harris for 1/400000 of his salary if you are, like me, in Md-01.

      I'll have to look at the Md small claims process.

      Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

      by dadadata on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:45:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Class action small claims suit (8+ / 0-)

        The following 130 million people vs. The Republican Congress.

        We have one thing immediately in our favor that the republicans lack in their lawsuit against the President. Everyone of us can claim we have been actually harmed by the (in)action of our republican congress.

        •  Are Suits Possible for That Type of Negligence? (3+ / 0-)

          I mean they're not doing anything, which is the problem, but I would think there would need to be a very well defined obligation to act before a suit would have much chance.

          INAL but I wonder if a suit for failure to act would be thrown out before even a hearing, especially coming from the occupants and lodged against the reps of ownership.

          We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

          by Gooserock on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 09:21:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've been involved with a few small claims... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Gentle Giant, dadadata

            lawsuits in California. One was a class action with 21 plaintiffs. At least in California, rules for small claims cases are very lax. You don't need to hire an attorney. You don't go through formal acts of discovery and other pretrial requirement for municipal court. Basically, you fill out the paperwork, pay the small fee, pay to have the person your suing served with legal notice and wait for a court date to be assigned.

            On the day of court you bring all your paperwork and evidence and plead your case to the judge. Damages when I went to court were limited to $5000 so you won't get rich talking someone to small claims court, But in our case, after the defendant appealed to a higher court and lost again, each of the 21 were awarded $4000. That hit the defendant for $84,000 and he spent at least that much on the lawyer who handled his failed appeal. He should have just paid us the original $5000/each and saved the attorney fees and aggravation.

            The problem with suing the republican congress is coordinating the filing of the lawsuit. I found trying to get 21 people to do something on the same day was a heroic effort. Getting 130 million or so would take an act of God. And then you have to wonder where they'll hold court? It's going to take a longtime to get through 130 million personal stories!!

          •  Taking their pay and not doing their job (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dadadata, allison88
            I mean they're not doing anything, which is the problem, but I would think there would need to be a very well defined obligation to act before a suit would have much chance.
            If you paid someone to re-roof your house, and they didn't, you could take them to court, right?

            Well, what's the difference here? I'd say Congress has pretty well-defined obligations. They sure haven't performed as required but they're still getting paid.

            I want to live in a civil society. Political compass: -7.88, -5.08

            by dragonwerx on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 02:31:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  i've said this a couple times out here i think (0+ / 0-)

              this whole "since they brought it up, fine, let's sue the republicans" idea.  but it was just in the comments and probably lost.

              if you need to have "damages," that's certainly not hard to find.  how about anyone in...Wisconsin...who has been harmed by the governor's refusal to expand Medicaid file a suit in small claims court?  do they all have to file together?  i wouldn't think so.  does it have "more effect" that way, in small claims court?  i have no idea.

              i'm thinking it would be more like that woman who took...Honda or some foreign car company to small claims court for some minor defect that affected a huge number of their vehicles.  other attempts to get the company to respond hadn't worked, and she just decided to try to get $5K out of them, at least.  i don't know if she won (this was a couple years ago, i think).  anyway, she said if others wanted to do the same thing, she had all the info and instructions and would be happy to help them file their own suit.

              so....set up a site where Wisconsinites who've been harmed by walker's refusal can get all the info they need to file in small claims court.
              set up a site for each state.  if the claims just trickle in, rather than 150 filing together, does it really matter?  death by a thousand cuts, and all that.

              anyway, that's governors, and since some repub govs DID expand medicaid, it can't be linked to the GOP/party.  so that example can't be national.

              but there are other issues.  national level, refusing to hold "yes" or "no" votes on important issues, voters aren't able to know where a rep or senator stands on an issue.  they are hiding behind their inaction.  how is this damaging, on a personal level?  hmmm....X many hours required to research positions on important topics, X many hours spent trying to contact that pol AND get an answer (and this may include costs for postage, mileage, etc.).  heck, we can even go into the health costs--increased stress, anxiety, depression, resulting in expenditures for...[fill in].  geez, there are creative people out there, let's figure this out.

              do i actually think any lawsuit against a sitting repub, or the GOP/party, would "work"?  no.  but boehner doesn't think his will either.  it's a stunt.  and one done by the people against the "do nothing party" would also be a "stunt" designed to do a couple of the things boehner hopes to achieve--make a point, and encourage the faithful.

              •  I don't like lawsuits or the law or lawyers (0+ / 0-)

                Who have made it very difficult to sue government.

                I would support laws that enable workers and unions to think of themselves as tenants in common with their employers in an enterprise.

                Then as workers doing work and as tenants in common to place mechanics liens on their employers businesses. for the work they do under an agreement or contract which isn't honored.

                We need to recognize that the places where workers work under contract are really their business as well.

                Its just as if the city hired a plumber or a carpenter to do work on its physical plant when it hires a teacher to do the work of teaching.

                When  they do the work they were hired to do, that they signed a contract to do, establishes a lien which takes precedence over a first mortgage, on the buildings and the ground they stand on as well as all the equipment.

                I'd argue that just as the teachers in a union are workers doing work so are policemen, firemen, people cleaning buildings, air traffic controllers, people employed in a factory or in a restaurant or store are workers doing work.

                When after doing the work someone decides it would be a good idea to pay them less than their pensions and other contracts called for don't sue just place a lien; De Domo Reparanda.

                In the common law and reflected in many statutes is the principle that if you are joined in ownership of a property whether its a commonwealth or a household or a joint venture which involves the ownership of property such as a household or farm or a commonwealth, the principle of De Domo Reparanda allowed

                "a writ which lay for one tenant in common to compel his co-tenant to contribute towards the repair of the common property".
                As soon as you do any work on a property you have an ownership interest through a mechanics lien and become a tenant in common.

                Let's take the city of Detroit for example. Obviously its broken and in need of some repair. Just as two people who share a household can force eachother to repair the roof when it leaks and share the cost, the occupants of the city can force the city to repair the water supply system, roads, bridges, water sewer utilities in general.

                We the people have a share in the ownership of our country, our states, our cities our public lands. It doesn't matter who is in charge of them,  we can lien the interest of anyone involved, corporations which use or benefit from the property that we reside on and share tenancy in.

                If teachers and other municipal employees perform work under a contract which entitles them to certain payment in cash and others deferred as benefits, and the benefits are not forthcoming because the municipalities have been "privatized" under a "manager" then I would expect the unions to be able to lien the municipalities just as the municipalities would be able to lien a resident who didn't pay their property or excise taxes. .

                Now if the municipalities go bankrupt then its the peoples right to seize its assets as owners and to repair them and to bill for their work to repair them and to place a lien to enforce their interest.

                "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

                by rktect on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 03:19:50 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Very picky point (mostly snark) (4+ / 0-)
      Representatives and Senators are immune to civil or criminal liability for anything they do in either institution
      [or for that matter while travelling to or from the sessions]

      Actually, I suspect that if one Representative shot another on the floor of Congress, he'd find that he was not immune from liability. [Deliberate avoidance of he/she.]

  •  Tenn to VW $165m = 82k per job (6+ / 0-)

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up!

    by Churchill on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:19:31 AM PDT

  •  I'm with you Mr. Gerard (10+ / 0-)

    And I seriously think that a group of like minded individuals and organizations should get together and sue them for failure to provide services.

    We should do it loudly and proudly and make as big a publicity splash as we can. Make sure that we include the amount of days that they actually spend at their jobs and how much they are being paid to not be there.

    They promised to work for us when they campaigned and promised to uphold the Constitution when they took their oath of office. I'm not sure that they crossed the line on part two but they sure as hell have broken all their promises on part one.

    Sue 'em.

    Some humans ain't human some people ain't kind. They lie through their teeth with their head up their behind. You open up their hearts and here's what you'll find - Some humans ain't human some people ain't kind. John Prine

    by high uintas on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:22:54 AM PDT

  •  They have a constitutional obligation (12+ / 0-)

    to "promote the general welfare" (meaning, well-being)

    "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

    Let's sue the Republican Party for their continuing, willful, and DELIBERATE failure to uphold their constitutional obligation.

    America's LAST HOPE: vote the GOP OUT in 2014 elections. MAKE them LOSE the House Majority and reduce their numbers in the Senate. Democrats move America forward - Republicans take us backward and are KILLING OUR NATION!

    by dagnome on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:28:18 AM PDT

  •  About that poll - (7+ / 0-)

    I can't vote for both.  Damn.

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:29:17 AM PDT

  •  This statement is true: (7+ / 0-)
    Corporations' only responsibility is to fill shareholder pockets with gold. How and where they do that is their business.
    You'll often here someone say "It's like (Corporation X) only cares about money!"

    Well... yeah. By definition. If you're buying food from a public company, you're buying the lowest quality product that they can possibly get away with selling to you. That's our system.

    But yes, we need to change that.

    It turns out that the skill set required to get elected is completely different than the skill set required to effectively govern.

    by VictorLaszlo on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:48:25 AM PDT

    •  Even a Sole Proprietor Is Under the Same Pressure. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gentle Giant

      I am; my line is based on performance but being a one-off artisan, every working item I make has somewhat different performance.

      Every potential sale then is to some degree an exercise in ethics. Does the buyer "deserve" the better one, or should I save the better one for a buyer who deserves more or could be convinced to pay more?

      This ethical issue is fundamental to any kind of exchange, it's not just publicly held corporations, not even limited to capitalism.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 09:24:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's exactly the point! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Corporations were created by legislation. We can change the legislation.

  •  Perspective is not a thing DC knows. (7+ / 0-)

    The President delays a provision in the healthcare law = sue him. The Republicans coddle corporations that off-shore their taxes = nada.

    An embassy is attacked and 4 Americans killed on Obama's watch = GOP committee hearings and FOX coverage non-stop. Under Bush 13 American embassies are attacked = nada.

    Obama ends two wars and begins to reverse the economic tailspin = "an unpopular president." Bush illegally starts a war and destroys the economy = "Do you miss me yet?" T-shirts.

    The list is endless. Go for it, Mr. Gerard!

    Dudeness that can be known is not Dude. - "The Dude De Ching"

    by Mother Mags on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:57:15 AM PDT

  •  Hell, we need a tune about Boehner called ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Leo W Gerard, DRo

    "A Boy Named Sue."

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 09:14:47 AM PDT

  •  I Vote For CDC Solution: Declare Repubs Zombies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They show no redeeming human emotions, are rabidly angry, and speak insane stuff.  Quarantine them till we get a cure.

  •  Let's do it! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Yes let’s get a class action law suit going.  Please someone must want to take it. The Republicans can not show harm.  But we can.  The people can.
    I, as US citizen and registered voter, will sincerely join any class action law-suit against House Republicans who have refused to do their job in the House and join any other class action suit against the Congress members who originally conspired against the President on the day he took office.
    These republicans are appalling and have gone way too far showing intent to harm the President now with a frivolous law suit.  Instead they have done serious “harm” to the people of the US.
    I say “class action” law-suit of The People vs. Boehner and his House Republicans!
    People can “show harm”.  House Republicans can not!

  •  How to get started?.. any attorneys out there (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    have comments?  It seems to me that there may be several class action law firms throughout the country that would possibly consider taking this case on pro bono.  crowd sourcing as a way to provide some sort of funding might also be possible.  I was just discussing this very idea two nights ago so am excited to see others with the same thought.  Thank you for the great post.

     I am ready and willing to do research, get paper work started or help out to get this ball rolling. I have no knowledge in this area.  My experience has been dealing with small claims court suits and bankruptcy court as a creditor.  However, I am willing to do what I can to make this a reality.

    The question is, as has been discussed, what is the best premise that will likely get a real hearing?  A class action small claims is a good place to go, but perhaps a law firm or attorney that would do well with handling the media would be willing to take this to a municipal circuit court or a federal district court?

    This is something that imo, even it isn't feasible, the attempt to actually do a filing would gather enough attention that it might wake up the general public to send them to the polls in November to vote out the GOP members and bring in a majority for dems.

    Let's get started!

  •   law lesson on Federal Law (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Republicans are really really stupid, or this is all just one big political ploy with our money, or they are positive they have the Supreme Court in their pocket, because here's a little law lesson on Federal Law... From

    Individuals within agencies can be prosecuted for crimes, and citizens can take agencies to court, but agency v. agency and even more, legislative branch v. executive branch, will never be condoned by the judicial branch. Of course, he was talking about an ideal judicial system, not one where the highest court in the land is totally one political party's handmaiden. Anything's possible these days.

    Federal courts can hear cases that have unique federal questions or in disputes between people of 2 states with more than $75,000 in controversy.

    Given all this there are likely 2 ways to trip up the GOP case by the time the first conference hearing is set: There is no subject-matter jurisdiction and there will be a failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted (Rule 12(b)(1) and Rule 12(b)(6).

    1. The GOP wants to force the Administration to execute a law faster. The administration has never said it would not execute the law, just not now. Not sure, but pretty sure the Executive Branch is in charge of enforcing law, not Congress, so stfu. What in fact are we talking about here?

    2. The GOP will need to show some sort of damage. Since they have repeatedly (50 times or so) have tried to repeal ACA, clearly they have not been damaged by a delayed enforcement of a part of the ACA when the don't want any of it all. No damages. No case (i.e., they won't be able "to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.")

    I do think there can be any number of counter-claims the Administration can file that could file. There are any number of torts that can be tossed out there from intentional tort to economic torts.

    However, since they are trying to compel him to do something, they are asking for relief under equity. In equity law you must ask for equity with "clean hands." As in, have you contributed to the problem? I'm not sure that the judge will be able to keep a straight face.
    Turns out that lawsuits have rules

  •  Sue the Repubaggers for GROCE NEGLIGENCE!!! (0+ / 0-)

    Sue the Repubaggers for GROCE NEGLIGENCE!!!

  •  Shareholders are just another group to be screwed (0+ / 0-)

    If I could change anything about the way progressives think about corporations it would be this: to realize management, especially of large corporations, view shareholders as just another group (like workers or lenders) to be managed. It's one of the key reasons you see enormous salaries going to CEOs of companies that just aren't that profitable. In bankruptcy shareholders are at the bottom of the creditor priority list (as they should be), a fact management can use to its own benefit as "debtors in possession" of a bankrupt company, still paying themselves huge salaries while the shareholders get nothing. Ownership is so diluted through mutual funds whose managers aren't generally interested in corporate government that there is rarely effective accountability imposed by shareholders against management. In fact, management spends corporate dollars to lobby for laws that make it harder for shareholders to sue them for malfeasance (that would be bad for business, don't you know.)

  •  The electoral solution will only work if (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    D's guarantee in writing that they will enact the legislation, with mandates for robust regulations and the funding to enforce them, so long as the electorate p0rovides them with majorities in both chambers.

    Combine that with a host of similarly guaranteed, popular promises, and watch the voters take over.

    Or don't, and grumble about only 38% showing up. Amazing how many will consider this preferable for any number of reasons, none of which account for the impact of the decision not to.

    I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

    Trust, but verify. - Reagan
    Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

    by Words In Action on Sat Aug 09, 2014 at 05:52:39 AM PDT

  •  Lets get this party going (0+ / 0-)

    Here's a petition for all of you to sign. This is growing grassroots movement. I know this could gain momentum if we start circulating the idea with the full intention of running with it. If nothing else, it would put fear into the hearts (assuming they have one) of the Do-Nothing Congress..

    Please sign and pass it on to your friends.

    Also, join the discussion on Facebook at:

    "We the people are suing You Mr. Boehner".

    Any legal advice/strategy will be welcomed. Please help!

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