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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

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March 11, 2014 - 4:05 pm

A House Natural Resources subcommittee chairman is charging that President Obama delayed a Senate vote on a national monument designation so he could give the impression that he’s moving stalled legislation by executive action.

A bill from Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) expanding the California Coastal National Monument to include more than 1,600 acres of Mendocino shoreline in the Point Arena-Stornetta Unit passed the House by voice vote last summer and was sitting in the Senate.

But Obama whipped out his pen today and used the 1906 Antiquities Act to declare the coastline protected land, proclaiming that he needed to use his executive authority to do so.

“In my State of the Union address, I said that I would use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations,” Obama said in a statement. “Our country is blessed with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. It’s up to us to protect them, so our children’s children can experience them, too. That’s what today is about.”

House Natural Resources Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah), though, said today was about nothing but showmanship.

“The president’s use of the Antiquities Act to expand the Coastal California National Monument is disappointing to say the least. It is also purely political and undermines sincere efforts to reach consensus on questions of conservation,” Bishop said.

“The House passed legislation to incorporate these public lands into the national monument with bipartisan support — both at the committee level and on the House floor. The fact that this bill hasn’t yet been considered in the Senate is not an oversight, it was intentional. The legislation was held up in the Senate so the president could usurp the congressional process. In other words, the House was punked by the president.”

Bishop stressed there was “no immediate urgency to make this a national monument,” either.

“Had the Senate done its job, the bill would have been considered and passed under regular order. There was broad support for the measure,” the congressman said. “The president seems to view the legislative process as relevant only when it is politically convenient. Unfortunately, that is not how our founding fathers intended for the federal government to operate.”

“I am troubled by the way President Obama and Harry Reid misuse the powers entrusted to them by the American people. This only hurts our country as we move forward tackling some of the biggest issues facing the American people.”

The Point Arena-Stornetta Unit becomes the first shoreline addition to the California Coastal National Monument, established by President Clinton in 2000 to protect islands, rocks and reefs within 12 nautical miles of the Golden State’s shores.

It’s not the first time Obama has used the Teddy Roosevelt-era law to bypass Congress, either: in 2012, he invoked the Antiquities Act to establish the César E. Chávez National Monument.

“Instead of using imperial powers, the President should pick up the phone and call upon Senate Democrats to take action,” Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said. “The House has already passed legislation, sponsored by a California Democrat, to expand the California Coastal National Monument by adding these lands. There is no inherent danger to this area or compelling reason for the president to take unilateral action now.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
This is an attempt to render Congress obsolete. I suspect we will look back on this as Obama's "Madison vs Marbury" moment: when (with Reid's complicity) the President established the precedent of substituting Executive Orders for legislation. Recall Sheila Jackson Lee's invocation for Congress to "write Executive Orders that Obama can sign." It is only going to get worse from now on.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (9)
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so now we know, it is Harry Reid that is holding up the country with his sense of being a dictator and king of the senate.

But then dems in the Senate applauded when B.O. called them irrelevant

So what does B.O. have on harry that he would allow this.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good lessons for congress. They wrote these administrative loopholes into the law. Now let them wallow in an insignificance of their own making.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
This move on a seemingly insignificant matter is designed to further cement the notion among the information deficit crowd that Obama can legislate from the White House. Then as more serious and impactful matters arise.......out comes the pen to dictate and the phone to organize the pitchforks.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
They have to fake everything.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
When a totalitarian acts as a tyrant it is not enough to whine and whimper.

It is time to take bold action and stand with confidence behind the people because they are 1000% in the right. Continually pointing at tyranny as if it is a minor trespass and then acting like 97 lb weaklings in confronting it is only emboldening the conspiracy to commit treason. Harsh words loudly delivered with assurance and anger by THE WHOLE PARTY ...instead of this insane circular firing squad and sissified objections to the rape of our Constitution are called for...immediately.

If not sooner.

Build the gallows.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is an attempt to render Congress obsolete. I suspect we will look back on this as Obama's "Madison vs Marbury" moment: when (with Reid's complicity) the President established the precedent of substituting Executive Orders for legislation. Recall Sheila Jackson Lee's invocation for Congress to "write Executive Orders that Obama can sign." It is only going to get worse from now on.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Could this a counter move for a thumbs up on XL? Just musing, an "I did this!" And not a bi-partisan effort.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
The hallmark of a fragile ego, a very insecure person. Has to be the center of attention, the "hero," even if he has to fabricate the circumstances.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jeebus, what a small man. Putin is running rings around him so he has to use sleight of hand to make it seem like he's in charge.

Couldn't even do something bipartisan.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
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