In a statement of policy, today, the Obama administration laid into House Republicans for trying to assume unconstitutional powers with their bill that would sue the president for doing his job.
Here’s the statement from the Executive Office Of The President:
The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 4138 because it violates the separation of powers by purporting to permit the Congress to challenge in court the exercise by the President of one of his core constitutional functions – taking care that Federal laws are faithfully executed.
Congress ordinarily has the power to define the bounds of the Executive Branch’s enforcement authority under particular statutes, and persons who claim to be harmed by the Executive Branch’s actions may challenge them as inconsistent with the governing statute. But the power the bill purports to assign to Congress to sue the President over whether he has properly discharged his constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed exceeds constitutional limitations. Congress may not assign such power to itself, nor may it assign to the courts the task of resolving such generalized political disputes.
If the President were presented with H.R. 4138, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.
The ENFORCE Act is a piece of House Republican legislation that would take away President Obama’s constitutional power to implement the law. It is ironic that while screaming about President Obama making his own laws, House Republicans are trying to steal the president’s constitutionally mandated powers, with a piece of legislation that allows either the House or the Senate to sue President Obama if they don’t like the way that he is implementing the law.
In case anyone needs a refresher, this is not the way our system of government is supposed to work. Congress passes the laws, and the president implements them. Congress does not have the ability to pass and implement their own laws. For decades, the courts have agreed that presidents have the power to implement the law. The only requirement is that they must implement the law within a reasonable period of time.
The ENFORCE Act is even worse than the usual grandstanding propaganda that House Republicans try to pass off as legislation. What Republicans are proposing is a fundamental transformation of the separation of powers. The president and his administration are correct to smack down this awful piece of half-baked legislation. The bill exists for the purpose of letting House Republicans go back to their districts and campaign against “Obama the dictator.”
House Republicans are frustrated because their power is diminishing as President Obama gets more willing to act on his own when and where he can. The Founding Fathers built a perpetual tug of war between the executive and legislative branches into our system of government. The separation of powers exists for a reason, and Republicans don’t get to trample the Constitution just because they don’t like the current occupant of the White House.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association