President Barack Obama took his criticism of congressional Republicans to a higher pitch on Wednesday, imploring them to "stop just hatin' all the time" as they voted to sue him over charges he has overstepped the bounds of his office.
In a party-line, 225-201 vote, the House of Representatives authorized the Republican-drafted lawsuit, which will focus on on unilateral changes Obama has made to the Affordable Care Act, his signature health care law. All Democrats and five Republicans opposed the measure.
On the House floor, Republican lawmakers reverently invoked America's founders in accusing Obama of bypassing Congress.
"This isn't about Republicans and Democrats, it's about defending the Constitution that we swore an oath to uphold," said House Speaker John Boehner.
But Obama, in a campaign-style speech, made fun of his political adversaries, laughing as he accused them of wasting time instead of addressing more pressing issues.
"Stop being mad all the time. Stop, stop, stop just hatin' all the time," he said of Republicans, drawing loud cheers from a raucous crowd of about 1,500 in an ornate theater in Kansas City.
Wednesday's vote cemented the Republican lawsuit's status as a lightning rod for months of bitter campaign rhetoric from both parties ahead of elections in November that will determine control of Congress next year.
Republicans have complained loudly that Obama has exercised "king-like" authority in taking executive actions ranging from raising the minimum wage for federal contractors to extending benefits to same-sex partners. But they have narrowed the focus of their suit, to be filed later this summer, to Obamacare because they believe this has the best chance of succeeding in the federal court system.