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Lawmakers Split on President’s ‘Year of Action,’ Hope for ‘Thaw’ in Congressional Gridlock

House Republican on conservatives behind shutdown: “Like a little kid, you’ve got to teach them: When you touch a hot stove, it’s gonna burn you."

by
Rodrigo Sermeño

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February 1, 2014 - 10:44 pm
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WASHINGTON – Reaction to President Obama’s speech to Congress fell along partisan lines as Democrats cheered the president’s willingness to use his executive powers, while Republicans reacted wearily to what they see as a move that will do little to bring together a divided legislature.

Following Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, the National Journal and the Atlantic hosted a panel of lawmakers Wednesday to discuss the president’s speech.

The president told lawmakers that he was “eager to work” with them on proposals that would need congressional approval, but his message was clear: “Wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said he welcomed the president’s use of executive action to push regulations necessary to implement certain laws.

“You can’t enforce a law when the regulations haven’t been promulgated, because the courts will say well, you know, the law hasn’t been fully written yet. The regulations are necessary to spell out the law so it can be filed,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal said he had no concerns about the president using his executive authority.

“The president is not in any way seizing legislative authority. He’s not legislating. He’s using authority that the legislature has given him. In fact, I’d make the argument he should have done this a lot sooner,” Blumenthal said.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) said she disagreed that Obama should work around Congress, as Blumenthal suggested.

She said the president took a gamble by threatening to take unilateral action.

“The president needs to work with Congress – that’s the way this country works. And to double down on healthcare; to throw down a gauntlet saying if you don’t agree with me I’m going to go around you. I don’t believe that’s a good start…trying to move forward on important issues,” Fischer said.

The Nebraska Republican urged her Senate colleagues to take action on important issues like approving the Keystone XL pipeline.

“When it comes to energy, the majority of Nebraskans support the Keystone pipeline. My legislative district covered much of the area that the Keystone pipeline’s going to be going through in the state of Nebraska,” Fischer said. “Yes, there are concerns. But Nebraskans, as most Americans, understand the need for that pipeline and the need to look at different sources of energy, so that we’re able to move forward with the needs that we have in this country.”

Fischer said there are many issues where the two parties can work together “and for the president to set that tone at the beginning of a session of Congress that if you don’t agree with me, you don’t have a voice” is “not the way the system of our government is supposed to work.”

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All Comments   (9)
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"“Half the Congress wasn’t here when the president first showed up. Half the Congress wasn’t here when healthcare passed. Half the Congress is not used to the institutional process,” Schock said."

Well, I guess we should be thankful for that, at least. It means they aren't corrupted, or co-opted yet. It also means we should get rid of any incumbents, and elect more conservatives.

45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Absolutely.....get rid of 'confused' (aka: indoctrinated and/or corrupted) incumbents like Aaron Schock and hopefully recruit more real conservatives like Trey Gowdy. Schock's patronizing comments proves that he just doesn't "get it" and is part of the problem, not the solution; he is certainly not alone in his usefulness either.

Remember BENGHAZI!
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
The best we can hope for until 2016 is permanent gridlock.

I'm willing to pay more taxes if Congress would just do nothing. Every moment when they are idle is their best moment.

Unfortunately, none of them can help themselves. They HAVE to act, no matter how stupid the actions are.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Shock is part of the RINO bubble, will he be shocked when the TEA Party refuses to follow in the next election. Our only recourse is to abstein from voting if we are faced with a craven sycophant.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said he welcomed the president’s use of executive action to push regulations necessary to implement certain laws."

Richard Blumenthal is the guy who lied about serving in Vietnam on repeated occasions but was elected by the people of Conn. to the US Senate anyway.

By no means an honorable man.

( the people of Mass. elected another serial liar, Elizabeth Warren)

Barack Obama is a stubborn narcissist who, from the outset in 2009, has seen his selection by a slim margin of American voters as a mandate for an imperial presidency, the other branches of government and restrictions they would impose on him as "in the way".

Do the recent hearings when even some prominent democrats like Jonathan Turley pointed this out mean absolutely nothing ?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Did you know that fewer than half of all registered voters even voted in 2012 ?

Barack Obama was selected by about 23% of registered voters.

That's how we got this guy who thinks he's king.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
When I first glanced the headline I thought it read "Lawmakers spit on presidents year of action....." . Oh well, split is better than agreeing.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
You know the president was simply repeating what we all hear when we go home. The American people want us to get things done. —Blumenthal

Who is telling Congress to do stuff? It may be exaggeration, but we'd be better off if they just took a few years vacation.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
How stupid is Blumenthal? Nobody questions Obama's power to issue EOs under legislation. It's when his EOs and regulations and waivers make substantial changes to legislation, or ignore it altogether, that we point out his lawlessness.

Blumenthal reminds me of Richard Pryor's description of a neighborhood junkie: "The boy is null and void."
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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