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(J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

The House of Representatives today sought a three-month extension in a lawsuit it originally brought against the Obama administration "to give more time for the parties to work together toward a resolution," according to a senior GOP aide. The lawsuit questions the legality of Obamacare payments being made to insurers, but is now technically being brought against the Trump administration.

"The House and Department of Justice filed a motion seeking more time to continue efforts to resolve the lawsuit without the court's assistance," a spokesperson for Speaker Paul Ryan's office told me. If the court agrees with the motion, an appeal of an earlier district court decision will remain on hold and the payments will continue to be made. The earlier ruling sided with the House GOP. If the Trump administration drops the case, the payments to insurers will stop.

The payments, called cost-sharing reduction subsidies, are crucial to insurers' decisions on whether they'll participate in the individual market in 2018. The planning process formally begins in May, and insurers have made it clear they need the payments to continue offering coverage through whatever transition the GOP creates away from Obamacare.

The issue: The lawsuit, brought by House Republicans against then-Department of Health and Human Services secretary Sylvia Burwell, says the payments are being made without the approval of Congress, which is unconstitutional. They were written into Obamacare to reduce out-of-pocket costs for low-income people, and the law clearly states insurers must pass along the subsidies to enrollees, regardless of whether they receive the payments from the federal government.

When Barack Obama left office and President Trump took his place, the suit technically became the GOP suing itself. Aides say the question still needs to be answered by the courts, as it is a matter of constitutional authority.

What to look for: How insurers react. Three months gets us into May, which may be too late for them. The prolonged uncertainty could very well be disastrous for exchange participation.

Go deeper

Australia opposes UN report warning Great Barrier Reef is "in danger"

A green sea turtle swimming among the corals at Lady Elliot island, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Great Barrier Reef should be included in a list of World Heritage Sites that are "in danger" from climate change, a United Nations committee said in a report Tuesday.

Yes, but: Australia's government said it will "strongly oppose" the recommendation by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: Abolishing filibuster would weaken "democracy's guardrails"

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema at the U.S. Capitol building earlier this month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) defended her opposition to abolishing the 60-vote legislative filibuster in a Washington Post op-ed published Monday night, saying to do so would weaken "democracy's guardrails."

Why it matters: There have been growing calls from Democrats, particularly progressives, to overhaul the rules as the Senate prepares to vote Tuesday on a massive voting rights package. But Sinema writes in her op-ed that if this were to happen "we will lose much more than we gain."

Court blocks California assault weapons ban repeal

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Monday blocked a judge's ruling that overturned California's 30-year assault weapons ban.

Driving the news: U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled earlier this month that the ban was unconstitutional and likened the AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife, but the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has now granted a stay, pending appeal.