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“Congress Does Nothing But Sue Obama”: Boehner’s Obama Lawsuit Is The Fault Of The Do-Nothing Congress

House Republicans are so angry that President Obama has been going around them to make policy that Speaker John Boehner says he will file a lawsuit against Obama to stop what the GOP sees as abuse of executive power. Said Boehner:

The Constitution makes it clear that a president’s job is to faithfully execute the laws. In my view, the president has not faithfully executed the laws. When there are conflicts like this between the legislative branch and the administrative branch, it’s … our responsibility to stand up for this institution.

Hello, pot? It’s the kettle calling. You’re black.

Boehner’s right in that the executive branch has been driving policy changes – even ones around the edges – and often using executive orders to do it. Obama is not the only president to do this, and it’s understandable that Congress would be irked at not being made a part of the process.

What rings hollow here is that Congress has aggressively chosen not to be part of the process. The 113th Congress is the least effective Congress in recent history, unable to get even basic budget and appropriations items, let alone a comprehensive immigration bill or entitlement reform. This Congress, and the House in particular, has made it a mission to oppose pretty much anything Obama wants to do (even, in some cases, where what Obama wants to do is not that dissimilar to what a lot of Republicans say they want). That’s their right, but it’s not rational for them to expect Obama to just sit by, throw up his hands and say, “oh, well – I guess I just won’t have any impact on the nation, even though I’m president.” (Though that would serve a Republican goal, too, giving them fodder to call Obama “weak” and “ineffective.”)

And it’s not as though the legislative branch hasn’t tried to flex its muscles and push around other branches of government . The House, in the past, has considered legislation that says, in the text, that the law cannot be subject to judicial review. Another bill would force another branch of government, the Supreme Court, to allow cameras in the room during oral arguments – something the high court doesn’t want and sees as a legislative branch encroachment on its day-to-day workings.

And is Obama really the only “kinglike” figure here? Mitt Romney, in the 2012 campaign, repeatedly pledged to undo Obamacare – a law written by Congress and passed by Congress – by executive order on his first day in office. Obama has been fiddling with enforcement and application of laws and regulations administered by the executive branch. Romney wanted to undo an entire law, just because it was approved by people who were duly elected by their constituents but with whom Romney does not agree. Rick Santorum, running in 2012, listed nine executive orders he planned to issue to undo laws of the land relating to abortion, stem cell research and gay marriage. He also pledged to call on Congress to abolish the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a court whose rulings Santorum did not like.

Power abhors a vacuum. And if Congress categorically refuses to participate in the law-making process, it can’t expect other branches to follow suit. The Supreme Court has had a major role recently in public policy, especially issues such as gay marriage. It’s not because nine justices are sitting in a room, wringing their collective hands in a menacing way while laughing evilly. It’s because the legislative and executive branches have been unable to work together and recognize each other’s authority.

So some in Congress think Obama is taking too much power in the way he does his job. Maybe if Congress would do its job, there would be no problem.

 

By: Susan Milligan, U. S. News and World Report, June 26, 2014

June 27, 2014 - Posted by | Congress, House Republicans, John Boehner | , , , , , ,

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