San Francisco – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after the Committee on House Administration reported that, over the past fifteen months, Speaker Boehner has racked up nearly $1.5 million in taxpayer-funded legal bills to an outside law firm to defend the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). To date, Speaker Boehner’s legal team has lost all five DOMA cases decided in federal courts:
“For more than a year, Speaker Boehner and Congressional Republicans have committed valuable taxpayer dollars to defending discrimination and preserving inequality – only to lose case after case in their effort to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act. There is nothing effective or efficient about this utter abuse of the people’s trust or the public purse; it is simply wasteful and wrong, and Americans deserve better.
“It is unconscionable for Speaker Boehner and Republican leaders, including Chairman Dan Lungren who authorized the contracts with the outside law firm, to continue to stand on the wrong side of history at taxpayer expense. Yet, rather than join Democrats to create jobs and strengthen the middle class, Republicans refuse to abandon their reprehensible fight to deny basic civil rights and justice to an entire group of their fellow Americans.
“The American people should no longer have to foot the bill for Speaker Boehner’s campaign to appease the most conservative forces within the Republican Party. It is time for the Speaker and Congressional Republicans to drop their frivolous, taxpayer-funded lawsuits without any delay. When they do, we will all look forward to the day when DOMA is relegated to the dustbin of history once and for all.”
Speaker Boehner likes to say that Congressional Republicans are focused on ensuring taxpayer dollars are “used efficiently and effectively.” Reality proves otherwise.
In addition to the GOP’s lackadaisical work schedule, their failure to accomplish even the bare minimum of previous Congresses, and their repeated attacks on Medicare and the middle class – Speaker Boehner has no qualms spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act.
According to numbers provided to the Committee on House Administration – over the course of one year and three months, Speaker Boehner has wasted nearly $1.5 million in taxpayer funds to defend the discriminatory DOMA before the federal courts. The current contract signed by Committee on House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren specifies a $1.5 million cap on this boondoggle, which will soon have to be lifted and increased.
President Obama, the Attorney General, Congressional Democrats, and court after court have rejected DOMA as unconstitutional. Moreover, the American people support equal protection under the law for same-sex couples and their families:
AP/National Constitution Center Poll
By a 31-point margin, Americans overwhelmingly say same-sex couples should be entitled to the same government benefits as married couples rather than the government distinguishing between them (63 percent vs. 32 percent). [August 2012]
To date, Boehner has intervened in 14 DOMA cases at taxpayer expense and lost five in a row so far:
February 22, 2012 – U.S. District Court in California declares DOMA unconstitutional, in Golinski v. United States, ruling in favor of Karen Golinski who sought to enroll her wife in the federal employee health plan
May 24, 2012 – U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California rules DOMA unconstitutional and held that federal tax law cannot limit the participation of same-sex married couples and domestic partners in a long-term care insurance plan in Dragovich v. U.S. Department of Treasury.
May 31, 2012 – U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston rules DOMA unconstitutional in Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
June 6, 2012 – U.S. District Court in New York rules DOMA unconstitutional in Windsor vs. U.S.
July 31, 2012 - U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut rules DOMA unconstitutional in Pedersen v. OPM.
In June of this year, Boehner went so far as to petition the Supreme Court of the United States to reverse unanimous federal appeals court ruling in Gill v. OPM and Massachusetts v. United States. The Court has not announced if it will hear the GOP’s discriminatory challenge this year.
It is unconscionable for Speaker Boehner to continue stand on the wrong side of history and waste taxpayer dollars in this reprehensible fight to appease Tea Party conservatives.