Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Whip, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:
"At a 2008 campaign event, then-Senator Barack Obama proclaimed: 'I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the Executive Branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.'
"Let’s mark that down as yet another broken promise.
"The Obama Administration's willingness to ignore Congress and unilaterally change laws that don’t suit his purposes are actions that directly conflict with our constitutional system of separation of powers.
"The examples are numerous. After it became apparent that millions of Americans would not be able to keep the health care plans they liked, the President issued a temporary exemption to the minimum insurance requirements established by Obamacare. And when that temporary reprieve was not enough to avoid further political fallout, the Administration just last week extended the compliance date by two years. In total, the Obama Administration has modified its signature health care law—without statutory authority—over 20 times.
"The President’s overreach has extended beyond just health care, though. Last August, Attorney General Eric Holder announced changes in federal mandatory minimum sentencing policies for non-violent drug offenders, reforms that are constitutionally required to come from Congress. And in July of 2012, the Obama Administration waived the statutory work requirements that were a critical element of the bipartisan 1996 Welfare Reform Law.
"That’s why Congress this week passed legislation to address the increasingly alarming Imperial Presidency. First, we passed the ENFORCE the Law Act. This bill allows the House or the Senate to bring a lawsuit against the Executive Branch when it chooses to ignore or nullify duly-passed pieces of legislation. We also passed the Faithful Execution of the Law Act, which requires the Attorney General to notify Congress anytime a federal agency sets a policy that would cease enforcement of existing law. Congress is a co-equal branch of government, and we at least deserve to understand how the Executive Branch is enforcing or ignoring the bills that are signed into law.
"When America’s Founding Fathers framed our Constitution, they designed a separation of powers system in which each branch was given specific duties and responsibilities. The Legislative Branch was tasked with writing law, and the Executive Branch was instructed to “faithfully execute the law.” President Obama’s decision to “go it alone” threatens this balance. It is the Constitution that has held our nation together during her trying times, and it will be the Constitution that leads America to even better days.
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