Obama Destroys The Republican Argument That He Has Abused His Executive Powers

obama on abc this week

President Obama debunked the basis for every single Republican argument that he is abusing his executive powers during an interview on ABC’s This Week.



Transcript via ABC News:

STEPHANOPOULOS: But do you have the right to make that decision on your own?

OBAMA: Absolutely. If you look, every president – Democrat and Republican – over decades has done the same thing as I mentioned in my remarks today. George H. W. Bush, about 40% of the undocumented persons, at the time, were provided a similar kind of relief as a consequence of executive action-

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you know the response of both Reagan – but in that case, there were bipartisan bills passed, they were acting after the bills were passed, not because Congress did not act.

OBAMA: Well George, I’m not sure that argues in favor. If Congress acted specifically and left something out and then a President goes ahead right afterwards and does more than Congress agreed to, it’s actually not different. It’s similar. The fact is is that we exercise prosecutorial discretion all the time. And, you know, the primary response that I have to Speaker Boehner and others is go ahead and pass legislation. They don’t need me to act. In fact, I encourage them to act but in the meantime what we’ve got to make sure of is, number one that our borders are secure and what I’m doing is going to allow us to put more resources there, number two it’s going to allow us to focus on the people that we really want out. Number three, what it allows us to do is to say to folks who have been here for a while, register, we’re gonna submit — you’re going to submit to a criminal background check and you’re going to pay taxes. Why we would prefer a system in which they’re in the shadows, potentially taking advantage of living here but not contributing makes no sense.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you respond to the argument, a future president comes in, wants lower taxes. Doesn’t happen. Congress won’t do it – he says I’m not going to prosecute those who don’t pay capital gains tax.

OBAMA: Well, the truth of the matter is, George, that the reason that we have to do prosecutorial discretion in immigration is that we know we are not even close to being able to deal with the folks who have been here a long time. The vast majority of folks understand that they need to pay taxes, and when we conduct an audit, for example, we are selecting those folks who are most likely to be cheating. We’re not going after millions and millions of people who everybody knows are here and were taking advantage of low wages as they’re mowing lawns or cleaning out bedpans, and looking the other way – but then you got politicians suddenly going out there saying, suggesting somehow that we should be deporting all of them. Everybody knows, including Republicans, that we’re not going to deport 11 million people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you don’t think it’d be legitimate for a future president to make that argument?

OBAMA: With respect to taxes? Absolutely not. But what is true – what is true today is we don’t audit every single person, but we still expect that people are going to go ahead and follow the law. And we have limited resources, we have to make sure that we prioritize those folks who are most dangerous and we should acknowledge what everybody has already acknowledged through their actions – and Congress acknowledges through their budget – which is we’re not in the business of deporting millions of people or breaking up families.

The political reality is that Republicans had no intentions of passing their own immigration bill. John Boehner has spent years fleeing from the immigration because his caucus is deeply divided. Many House Republicans oppose everything. The position that any immigration reform bill is amnesty is a bedrock piece of the Republican platform. Ever since President Bush’s failed attempt to pass bipartisan immigration reform, opposition on the issue has been wired into the DNA of the Republican Party.

The idea that Obama is acting like an emperor or a dictator by using his constitutional powers to define federal prosecutorial discretion is laughable. The president easily dissected the Republican argument based on historical precedent and their own behavior.

What the president wants is for Speaker Boehner to have two choices. Either the House votes on the Senate passed immigration reform bill, or they shut down the government. Those are the options for Boehner and the Republicans. House Republicans do have a third option, and that would be to pass a clean funding bill, and let the immigration issue drop, but their caucus is out for revenge. Boehner’s vow to stop Obama means that the country is on course for a showdown on funding the government.

President Obama is on firm legal footing, so Republicans are being forced to decide which way they are going to lose. Are they going to lose by capitulating on immigration, or are they going to self-destruct and shut down the government?

Given the Republican Party’s recent history, the smart money is on self-destruction.

19 Replies to “Obama Destroys The Republican Argument That He Has Abused His Executive Powers”

  1. Nothing will change. A shut down will be history by the next election and people have very short memories. It appears that the only great President this country has ever had is Ronald Reagan. Trickle down is still going to work, his foreign policy was wonderful, and his immigration stand was the way it should be done. In reality he is the biggest reason this country is in the dire straits we are now in.

  2. I root for overreach. Impeach, shut the government down and be the hateful nasty old white man’s political party resisting change every step of the way. The House will have the votes to impeach, but the repubs in the Senate will not have the 2/3rds (67) votes needed to try PBO just like with Clinton. Now if we can just stop the repubs in the states (like Michigan) from changing the way they want to count the electoral college votes. A bill has been put up in Michigan to do just that. Instead of winner take all, repubs want electoral votes to be granted congressional gerrymandered district by district. If it was in place in 2012, Romney would have got more votes in Michigan. That is going to screw the Dems in 2016 big time. Any doubt that they will do it?

  3. An argument could be made that President Obama doesn’t want to work with Congress because he doesn’t meet one-on-one with them very often. I don’t know how true this is but President Obama made a comment that sounded like he found meeting with McConnell not a pleasant thought. Then I heard on NPR the other night an interview with an author, Alec MacGillis who described McConnell as the worst member of Congress to take an attitude of climbing the ladder to power without actually doing anything for Americans. He cares only about the next election. That may be why President Obama considers meeting with GOP representatives as repulsive. The president said “Why don’t YOU meet with Mitch McConnell?” in response to a question by a reporter. This signals a complete disgust with Congress as a group that cannot even be dealt with on a humane level. I therefore support the president in his executive action.

  4. Reagan:
    The Rape of the Middle Class.
    The Desperation of the Under Class.
    The Saint of the Upper Class…
    …and of the FOX-fed DittoHeaded Class.

  5. The presstitute corpse has become so blatantly partisan that I think there is no infamy, up to and including insurrection , assassination, or summary execution, that they would not try to get the public to accept.

  6. Good God Keith. PBO has reached out since day one when the repubs were meeting to promise to do nothing because they want PBO to fail. Where have you been? I’m serious. Where have you been since 2008?

  7. That’s why the Democrats must remind everyone of the gop causing the government shutdowns, AND remind us all of the harm Reagan’s policies have done. Yes, people have short memories, so gopers “remind” us of how “great” Reagan was. Why don’t Democrats counter that with the real Reagan, and what they intend to do to make this nation better?

  8. the president can’t do this by himself. every democrat needs to attack every blatant lie that the right tells. they should debunk every lie the conservatives has told about exec orders. and from the looks of it, benghazi, again.

  9. “STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you respond to the argument, a future president comes in, wants lower taxes. Doesn’t happen. Congress won’t do it – he says I’m not going to prosecute those who don’t pay capital gains tax.”

    The problem for George the presstitute, is that congress DID pass immigration reform in the Senate, which makes his argument little more that a GOP blowjob. Too bad the President didn’t throw that little bit of false equivalence back in his well-paid face. This is the reason he’s a better fit for GMA than conducting serious interviews. He can’t seem to see past the GOP talking points, and offer a valid argument. What a pipsqueak.

  10. I have heard over and over again how he has reached out to Republicans but whatever he’s done, it is not working so that is why I support this action. It does no good to keep blaming ‘them.’ ‘Them’ might be slugs (they are) but complaining is talk and it just stops there. The Repugs won’t stop their cat and mouse, time-wasting game. Action is required and the President is taking it.

  11. POTUS has extended so many olive branches to repubs, there’s now a small forest outside the White House. They are lazy, petulant, treasonous domestic terrorists.

  12. It takes both houses of Congress to pass a Bill and the Prez to sign the Bill to create the Law. It doesn’t matter if only the Senate has passed the Bill. It’s not how this works… It’s not how any of this works. Come on people.

    Another thing for you folks to chew on… the President does not represent the voice of the 2/3 of the populus that didn’t vote. The people who voted represents these unheard voices… Government of the people, by the people and for the people. Most of your arguments around here are Anti-American just on that principle alone.

  13. Still blaming Reagan after a quarter century? You funny…. and you not see the bigger picture. The Federal Reserve and fractional reserve banking is the ultimate trickle down scheme in this country for the last 100 years. The cabal of international bankers has destroyed your wealth to the point were your dollar 100 years ago is worth less than a nickle today. The international bankers want us to pit the political parties against one another for the dire economic circumstance we find ourselves in today. It’s called cover for them and they can continue with the scam. The Democrat v. Republican thing is meaningless and a waste of time. If your hatred for the Republican party prevents you from understanding this, then the bankers got you right where they want you! They got you by the balls!

  14. Come on mister wise, to put in effect an EXECUTIVE ORDER the Congress do not need to pass any law. If they passed, the EO is not needed.The argument is that if the senate passes a bipartisan bill about immigration shows a divided congress and that the House is not doing their job disregarding the will of the people, who you said are represented by the GOP. The only problem is that the majority of Americans approve a comprehensive immigration reform, although at the same time- believing is Santa Claus-.they think that our President should wait for a reasonable GOP willing to work with him on this matter. Regarding the 2/3 voice, remember that POTUS was elected twice with a pro immigrant platform. Yes, many silent voices express their discontent with Obama trying to appease the Tea baggers. That do not means at all that they preferred the baggers. Then it is obvious that your comment is the one anti American while siding with your good for nothing GOP congress. Sorry, they are experts in…

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