Rep. Trey Gowdy’s Enforce the Law Act
We’ve reached the point that it’s actually necessary to pass a law stating that the President of the United States must obey the law. And lest you doubt for one instant that it is necessary, King Barack has already threatened to veto it.
The ENFORCE the Law Act has a very capable sponsor and defender in Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who gave an epic speech on the House floor, peppered with plenty of quotes from a certain Senator Barack Obama. If Obama’s supporters expected an ounce of intellectual consistency from him, they wouldn’t be able to get through Gowdy’s speech without weeping in shame. But of course, they don’t.
Gowdy makes an interesting point about the importance of process to the rule of law, something we understand when imposing rules of evidence upon criminal prosecutions, even when everybody “knows” the defendant is guilty. The same logic forbids an imperial President from discarding the processes of government to achieve desired ends, because he thinks swift action is extremely important.
Rep. Gowdy offered more thoughts about the limits of presidential power, and whether the legislative branch has legal standing to oppose executive overreach in court, during a press conference:
Politically speaking, Republicans have already accomplished an important objective by getting President Obama to go on the record opposing a law that would require him to obey the law. But there are serious principles at stake here. It’s not just a gotcha game to remind everyone that Senator Barack Obama claimed to be an implacable opponent of far less serious abuses of power than President Barack Obama has committed. The new law would give the House and Senate legal standing to sue the Administration if they believe he is failing to execute a duly ratified law, and pass a resolution to that effect.
As things stand, it is very difficult for Congress to demonstrate the sort of direct “injury” that would give them legal standing to bring a court case. And as we’ve seen over the past few years, there isn’t much of anything else keeping executive power in check. Of course, Democrats decry this bill as an insult to their man in the White House, but they really should be thinking ahead to the day it’s not their man in the White House. Obama’s incredibly dangerous precedent makes the legislative branch largely superfluous. It’s hard to imagine a worse offense against the Constitutional order than a desperate President rewriting legislation on the fly to save his party’s bacon in the next election.
You might have noticed that virtually no one bothers to pretend the last round of illegal ObamaCare changes was anything better than crass politics, not even some of Obama’s most reliable media cheerleaders. Naturally they think they can easily take back the Obama super-powers if Republicans win the 2016 presidential election, and I have no doubt the Beltway media culture will try… but are we really supposed to accept unelected, biased media organizations as the final authority on the limits of executive power? Where do we go to vote CNN or ABC News out of office, if we don’t think they’re doing a good job as watchdogs?
The Enforce the Law Act passed the House 233-181 on Wednesday, picking up five Democrat votes along the way. Normally it would end up in the clutches of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has provided invaluable services to the Obama White House for years by burying dozens of pro-growth Republican house bills without ever letting them come up for a vote. The media looks the other way, then rushes out with stories about how House Republicans are a “do-nothing” caucus with no ideas of their own. It’s a very sweet scam, and of course not one that any Republican Senate Majority Leader would ever be allowed to get away with for years on end.
But this time seems a bit different, because the White House did not hesitate to declare its willingness to veto the bill. The Daily Caller suggests the veto threat might be intended to prevent the sort of Democrat defections that occurred in the House. But you’ll just love the official reason Team Obama oppose the bill: it would saddle them with too much paperwork.
Oh, yes, the Prince of Paperwork went there:
White House officials said they oppose the measure because it creates a paperwork burden for them.
“Federal agencies are continually engaged in the process of determining how to concentrate limited enforcement resources most effectively,” said the White House statement.
“The vastly expanded reporting scheme required by the bill would be unduly burdensome and would place the Attorney General in the unprecedented position of having to be kept informed of and report on enforcement decisions made by every other Federal agency,” the statement said.
Those poor wee bairns in the White House! How dare we ask them to accept an “undue burden” of forms and reports to fill out? By the way, here’s the paperwork mountain Barack Obama was happy to drop on us with his health-care scheme: