The House voted 225 to 201 Wednesday afternoon to authorize House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to go forward with the lawsuit. It alleges that the president has overreached on his executive authority by unilaterally changing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The vote was almost split along party lines, with all Democrats voting "no." Five Republicans also voted against the measure. Four Republicans and three Democrats did not vote.
The president's response to Congress, in a campaign-style speech from Kansas City, was to ask House Republicans to "stop just hatin' all the time."
"We could do so much more if Congress would just come on and help out a little bit," Mr. Obama said after he laid out all the ways he had unilaterally taken steps he says help all Americans. "Stop being mad all the time. Stop just hatin' all the time."
"I know they're not that happy that I'm president, but that's okay," he said. "I've only got a couple of years left. Come on, let's get some work done. Then you can be mad at the next president."
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He reminded the audience that their tax dollars would fund the suit - which likely wouldn't even take effect until after he has left office.
"It's not a productive thing to do," the president concluded.
The suit has sparked days of bickering between the House GOP and the White House as they argue over who is responsible for fanning the flames of suggestion that the House might impeach the president.
Boehner called it a "scam started by Democrats in the White House" on Tuesday, pointing to the fundraising success the party's campaign arm enjoyed over the weekend after sending out scores of frantic emails warning that impeachment in the works.
"We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans," Boehner said.
In response to Boehner, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he suspected that several Republicans "didn't receive the memo," calling out by name some of House members who have used the I-word in public recently.
The White House's hope, according to the Washington Post, is that voters will be put off by those efforts now, like they were when Congress worked to impeach former President Bill Clinton and handed Democrats five new seats during the 1998 midterm elections.
In just two days, Mr. Obama will be the lone voice from Washington on the national stage as lawmakers leave town for their districts. He'll continue to work to motivate Democratic voters by pitching ideas like closing tax loopholes that benefit large companies even if the House and Senate are expected to do barely any legislating between now and November.
During some of his past out-of-town trips he has met with Americans who wrote to him describing their struggles and successes at getting ahead.
At Arthur Bryant's, an iconic Kansas City barbeque joint, Mr. Obama bought dinner for some of those letter-writers and mingled with local patrons, including the Glenview, Ill., Titans, a fast-pitch softball team.