House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) blasted Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Tuesday for spending nearly $1.5 million in taxpayer-funded money in a legal battle over the Defense of Marriage Act.
“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,” she said in a statement. “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.”
DOMA, enacted in 1996, defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman, and prohibits legally married same sex couples from receiving federal benefits. The law is currently facing a number of legal challenges, and is expected taken up by the Supreme Court next year.
The Obama administration has declined to defend the statute, but the U.S. government is still defending the law thanks to Republicans in Congress.
The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) voted along party lines to appoint an attorney to represent the government in the case. The five-member advisory group has the authority to instruct the non-partisan office of the House General Counsel to take legal action on behalf of the U.S. House.
A report by Democrats on House Administration Committee shows BLAG has already spent a total of $1,447,996.73 on its defense of DOMA. So far, BLAG has lost five cases in a row.
“It is time for the Speaker and Congressional Republicans to drop their frivolous, taxpayer-funded lawsuits without any delay,” Pelosi added.