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Congress Warned Obama’s Actions Making the Body ‘Less and Less Relevant’

Lawmakers told a “fourth branch” of government may be on the horizon, where federal agencies can determine their own jurisdictions.

by
Rodrigo Sermeño

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December 4, 2013 - 9:07 am
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WASHINGTON – The House Judiciary Committee debated on Tuesday whether President Obama acted within his purview when he delayed the new healthcare law and changed immigration enforcement.

Republicans have accused Obama of circumventing the nation’s laws by picking and choosing which laws to enforce, and at least one expert told the committee that this could change government as the nation knows it.

From the Affordable Care Act (ACA), to the DREAM Act and more, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said the Obama administration has repeatedly ignored what Congress has passed, while enacting executive orders and other exercises without congressional approval.

The U.S. Constitution imposes a duty on the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” commonly known as the “take care” clause. Obama’s past actions to delay or suspend certain portions of laws have left Republicans concerned that the president is not acting constitutionally.

“The Obama administration has ignored the Constitution’s carefully balanced separation of powers and unilaterally granted itself the extra-Constitutional authority to amend the laws and to waive or suspend their enforcement,” Goodlatte said. “The president cannot refuse to enforce a law simply because he dislikes it.”

Goodlatte said the president has made “unlawful modifications” to the ACA by selectively waiving and amending several major provisions of the healthcare law.

The president announced last month that Americans could keep non-qualifying healthcare plans for another year and suspended the ACA’s employer mandate for one year in July.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) said allowing some flexibility for the implementation of a new program is “neither unusual nor a Constitutional violation.”

He said Obama has used the same discretion that all presidents have used in the past. The only difference, he said, is that Republicans do not like it.

“It is especially interesting that some members who strenuously opposed the ACA and who worked diligently to obstruct its implementation, now complain that the president is unconstitutionally impeding implementation of his signature legislative accomplishment,” Conyers said.

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at the George Washington University, testified that there has been a radical expansion of presidential powers in recent years, beginning with President George W. Bush, and continuing under Obama.

“If a president can unilaterally change the meaning of laws in substantial ways, or refuse to enforce them, it takes offline that very thing that stabilizes our system,” he said.

He told members of the committee that more federal agencies growing increasingly independent could lead to the rise of a “fourth branch” of government, where federal agencies can determine their own jurisdictions.

Turley warned that if a president unilaterally enforces laws, then it will lead others to claim the same authority in the future. This, combined with the rise of more independent federal agencies, could destabilize the delicate balance between the branches of government.

If executive power should continue to expand, then Congress will become “a sad relic of what was once a tripartite system of equal branches,” he said.

“This body is becoming less and less relevant,” he added.

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Top Rated Comments   
Congress already has no function.

The power of the purse is gone. We have not had a constitutional budget for years and there is no sign of ever having one again.

There is no power of oversight. They rarely can be moved to call anyone before them to testify, and the testimony is either "I cannot recall" or deliberate perjury; neither of which has any consequences.

It is openly admitted that political party trumps obedience to law and the Constitution, and there is no act that Obama can commit to be impeached.

Members of either House may have those who they represent, but it sure does not seem to include the subjects of the government. And, to be honest, the people of the country have little or no input into who is in Congress. This last is aggravated by the fact that vote fraud is rampant and the election results are not necessarily related to what the voters may want.

The only reason we have these lop-earred duds being supported at such cost in the Capitol City is to give a veneer of respectability to coercive force.

The level of obligation of the people to obey a government that operates outside the social contract and their consent has been discussed before in our history.

Subotai Bahadur
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is the Congress's own fault.

There is nothing stopping them from adding a line into every new law that no regulation will go into effect until it has been approved by the congress.

There is also nothing stopping them from writing the regulations themselves. The White House has taken on that role over the years by default. There is nothing to stop the congress from pulling most of the regulators under the jurisdiction of the legislative branch instead of under the executive.

It is the legislature's job to write the laws. They, and they alone, are responsible for giving up their power to the president.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Republicans are becoming concerned...well, my stars and little garters...they might even write a stern note...or slap someone's wrist. But...it's not like the leftists shredding the Constitution and shattering checks and balances and consorting with the enemy...is anything to get in a lather about.

I mean getting ferocious should be reserved for people who REALLY are in their way. Like...Ted Cruz.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (58)
All Comments   (58)
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my friend's sister-in-law makes $71/hour on the internet. She has been out of work for five months but last month her pay was $18831 just working on the internet for a few hours. Get the facts......www.Buzz.com
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
my classmate's mom makes $80 an hour on the computer. She has been unemployed for six months but last month her payment was $13591 just working on the computer for a few hours. you could try this out......... www.Bay95.com
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sabbath – The 4th Branch of Government
A Founding Father principle: "Only the Creator can preserve his creation." This US Constitution and state constitutions can not fulfill there original intent in the hands of unregulated, unsupervised, and unaccountable hired hands, that is, the public agents of the people. History has spoken and experience now testifies that the will of the People as expressed in their constitutions require a constant, regular, uniform system of vigilance and attention by the people themselves. How is this to be done? By institution the missing fourth branch of civil government, the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a weekly public assembly by all the people in order to do the work of public business. It is a day to review the laws of the lands and the magistrates who execute them. It's election day. It's citizenship training day. It's a day of state and federal government oversight by the people. Article VIII to the US Constitution restores the sovereignty of the American people by the power of weekly public assemblies called the Sabbath. Read it: CHCAFE.WORDPRESS.com
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Back in the '90s, Robert Byrd gave a series of addresses to the Senate----without notes or TelePrompter. The subject? The Senate of the Roman Republic, which is the title of the book. I often think how saddened he must have been during his later years, having to behold his beloved Senate (and Congress) deliberately choosing to forswear its rights and responsibilities, most specially by his own Democratic Party
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Texas does quiet well with a Constitutional mandate that the legislature only meet for six months of every twenty four. Perhaps we should consider something similar in the way of an Amendment. . . pro-rating Congressional pay down to 1/4 of course.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I prefer:

The liberum veto (Latin for "the free veto") was a parliamentary device in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was a form of unanimity voting rule that allowed any member of the Sejm (legislature) to force an immediate end to the current session and nullify any legislation that had already been passed at the session by shouting Nie pozwalam! (Polish: "I do not allow!"). The rule was in place from the mid-16th to the late 18th century in the Sejm's parliamentary deliberations. It was based on the premise that since all Polish noblemen were equal, every measure that came before the Sejm had to be passed unanimously.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Congress has been abdicating responsibility for decades upon decades. With responsibility goes accountability and they simply don't want it.

Ninety plus percent of our "public servants" would happily vote "present" every time and draw their pay if they thought it would keep them in office.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Congress has been abdicating its oversight responsibility and we have been abdicating ours.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
The next president will have to do more than fumigate the White House. The bureaucrats are running and CHANGING our country while congress has dithered itself into insignificance.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I sure hope the stupid sheeple who voted for this TRAITOR wake up next year and overwhelm both houses with conservitives,but I won't hold my breath.The next POTUS HAS to be a constitutional conservitive or the USA is finished as we know it!It's becoming unrecognizable even now.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't hold your breath- take a few of the 40% of Americans who do not vote with you to the polls.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Congress may not realize it but they are the frog in the pot of warming water.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Congratulations. Someone figured out that we now live in a country ruled by administrative and judicial fiat, with a corrupt news media laying constant distraction from the truth.

On the one hand, this is a nightmare. On the other, Congress has itself been so corrupt that part of me asks, 'Why bother?'
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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