Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said Sunday that President Barack Obama's decisions to postpone the implementation of portions of the Affordable Care Act represent a "shameless power grab" by his administration.
Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Lee said the administration was playing politics by delaying some of the law's provisions in an election year.
"This is a shameless act, a shameless power grab that is designed to help the president and his political party achieve a particular outcome in a partisan election," Lee said. “The Constitution doesn't give the president that power.”
“It is not the president’s prerogative to simply make this the law by the stroke of the executive pen," Lee continued.
Lee's comments came in response to the Obama administration's decision to delay the law's employer mandate for some businesses. Companies with 50 to 99 employees now have an additional year to comply with the health care law.
The White House has defended the latest change, accusing Republicans of attacking the decision for purely political reasons.
"Let's just be honest -- the Republican criticism is that the president is taking into account the need to lessen disruptions to small businesses and employers?" Gene Sperling, the director of the White House National Economic Council, said last week. "Do you have any question that had he not made those adjustments, that the criticism would be coming from completely the other direction? So I find it unusual that the president goes out of his way and the team goes out of its way to have a smoother transition to new policies with less disruption for small businesses, and Republicans are complaining about that."
Lee has been one of the Affordable Care Act's most vocal opponents in the Senate. Last summer, he was among the lawmakers leading the charge to use the threat of a government shutdown to try to defund the law.
"Ted Cruz and I have been roundly criticized in the effort to defund Obamacare. We make no apologies," Lee said of his efforts in October, amid the 16-day government shutdown.