Sunday, November 23, 2014
Just thirteen months ago, the Democrats and their propaganda branch, the mainstream media, were predicting the imminent demise of the Republican Party, which would be forever destroyed by the backlash from the government shutdown. Today, thirteen months later, Republicans have extended their majority in the House, kicked out Harry Reid from control of the Senate, and won governorships in states which recently appeared to be solid Democrat bastions. The designers of our Constitution created a system of separation of powers, giving the power of the purse to Congress as a means to reign in a despotic Executive Branch. Using this power properly, by refusing to fund bad policy, is as important to preserving the Republic as is their responsibility to make budgets and fund necessary programs.
On Thursday, President Obama announced that he is using an Executive Order to unilaterally grant legal status to millions of people who are in the country in violation of laws passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. Republicans have correctly said that this action is unconstitutional and illegal. Democrats have largely responded with irrelevant examples of previous Presidents using executive orders.
Of course executive orders are legal. They have been used in many cases by Presidents of both parties throughout the history of the United States. What Obama did is not illegal because it is an Executive Order. It is illegal because it violates laws passed by Congress and signed by the President.
Article One of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to make laws regarding immigration. Congress alone has this authority, and the President does not have that authority. Presidents may issue executive orders regarding how they will execute laws passed by Congress. They may not make new laws contradicting existing law via executive order. Obama's amnesty is illegal because it grants legal status to people who don't have it according to law. Obama is not issuing and order which indicates how he intends to implement the law. He is issuing an order to violate the law. This was not only in violation of the Constitution, it was in violation of his oath of office, in which he swore to "faithfully execute the office of President" which includes the charge to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" (Article 1 Section 3). The authority granted to a President is granted by the assent of the governed, and when he seizes more than we have granted him, that is a tyrannical assault on our freedom.
Obama himself said that he does not have the authority to order an executive amnesty. Take a look at this series of clips. It would seem that Obama has decided that he is Emperor after all.
Obama now says that he had to take these actions because Congress did not act. That is absurd. Congress, by not passing the bill which Obama wanted, was acting. Deciding to not pass a bill is just as valid an exercise of the Constitutional authority of Congress as is passing a bill. The fact that Congress doesn't do what the President wants doesn't give the President the authority to do it unilaterally. Otherwise, why have three branches of government with divided powers? Just give totalitarian authority to the President. While we're at it, we might as well just call him king.
What recourse does Congress have when faced with a President exceeding his Constitutionally granted authority? The Constitution grants them three options. They can turn to the Judicial system to obtain a court order, they can exercise the power of the purse, cutting off funds for the illegal action, or in the most extreme cases where the other options have failed, they can pursue impeachment.
The least reliable of these methods is the relying on the courts. As we saw with the Obamacare decision and with many other cases in history, the courts frequently get it wrong.
As I said, impeachment is a last resort, and we are not to that point yet.
By far the most effective and appropriate response is to exercise the power of the purse, refusing to fund the large cost of implementing Obama's executive amnesty. This is effective only if the Republicans remain united and clearly make the point that if Obama refuses to fund the rest of the government, he is the one shutting down the government, not the Republicans. This should be an easier sell than it was for Obamacare. In this case, they are not refusing to fund a bill which was actually passed by Congress. They are refusing to fund an illegal action by a lawless president which was not only unauthorized by Congress, but directly violates the law passed by Congress and signed by the President. The American people won't tolerate a President holding the military, Social Security, Medicare, the VA, and the rest of the government hostage over an illegal effort to extend government benefits to people who violated the law.
Are the Republicans capable of articulating that point? Doubtful. Ted Cruz could. So could Mike Lee and Jeff Sessions. But the leadership is already indicating that they can't and won't even make the effort. House Majority Leader John Boehner has already said that "There will be no government shutdown or default on the debt." He is playing straight from the Democrat's own playbook, accepting their false premise that exercising their authority to not fund a particular item is tantamount to Republicans shutting down the government, and that allowing the debt ceiling to be reached will result in defaulting on our debt. These are both lies, and must be exposed as such. If Republicans pass a bill fully funding the operation of the government programs which they have authorized, and the President vetoes it, that is on the President, not on Congress. And if we reach the debt ceiling, there is still plenty of revenue to pay the cost of servicing the debt. When Boehner takes the power of the purse off the table he is surrendering the one Constitutional tool which he has control over. No money can be appropriated to Obama's amnesty unless it is first passed through the House. This can only happen with Republican votes. We have the power to stop it, if only we have the political will.
So what are the Republicans afraid of? Could it be that the media elites are busy warning them that if they exercise the power of the purse, they will be blamed for shutting down the government and suffer the wrath of the voters? Didn't they say the same thing thirteen months ago? That turned out just fine, and this time would as well.
Posted by Don Dodson at 9:33 PM