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Unmasking the Imperial Presidency

Comment

"Imperial presidency" perfectly describes what the Obama administration has become, as it increasingly violates the limits on its power defined by the U.S. Constitution. Criticisms of how President Barack Obama is overstepping his authority are now being heard from all sides of the political spectrum.

A remarkable 33-page report posted on the Internet by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor proves how imperial the Obama administration has become. This easy-to-read report, which can be downloaded by anyone (majorityleader.gov/theimperialpresidency/), details dozens of examples where the current occupant of the White House is exercising powers the Constitution doesn't give him.

This report accurately explains that "there is no excuse for this continuous disregard of legislative authority and the Constitutionally-required separation of powers." Yet Obama and some Democrats even brag about their imperial presidency: "The President has proudly acknowledged that he has acted without Congress, contending that he has no other alternative."

Examples of Obama overstepping congressional authority include his creation of new laws outside of the legislative process. In direct violation of the fact that the Constitution vests "all" federal legislative powers in Congress, Obama has attempted to impose onerous new global warming regulations costing billions of dollars and many jobs on businesses, despite the widespread discrediting of liberal hysteria claiming a global warming crisis.

Cantor's online report also explains how Obama has been "ignoring the plain letter of the law and failing to faithfully execute the laws." In direct violation of the successful, bipartisan 1996 Welfare Reform Act, Obama unconstitutionally waived the modest work requirements for people who receive welfare handouts.

The work requirement in the federal law is an essential protection against abuse of the welfare system, but Obama simply ignored the law and removed the work requirement on his own say-so. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the lead perpetrator of the Boston Marathon bombing, was reportedly supported by state welfare benefits, even though he was trained to be a terrorist intent on murdering Americans.

Cantor's report describes how Obama has repeatedly violated immigration laws. Obama acted to "systematically, on an ongoing basis, block illegal aliens from being placed into removal proceedings, stop already-initiated removal proceedings, and end deportations for potentially large numbers of criminal aliens."

For years, Obama refused to stand up for the Defense of Marriage Act, the important bipartisan federal protection for traditional marriage that was overwhelmingly passed by Congress and signed by former President Bill Clinton.

Then he instructed Attorney General Eric Holder not to defend DOMA in court, even though the Constitution makes it the duty of the president to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

The Obama administration has adopted a new kind of imperial presidency known as "government by waiver." Obama issued numerous waivers of statutory provisions in Obamacare in an attempt to get the Democrats past the next election.

Obama has already issued waivers to at least 35 states because of the impossible-to-meet targets of the now-expired No Child Left Behind law on condition that the states adopt the hated Common Core standards.

Without any constitutional authority, the Democrat-controlled Congress created "super agencies," whose immense powers are exempt from Congressional or judicial oversight, in 2010. The 15-member Independent Payment Advisory Board is a "death panel" with the power to decide which health care services will be reimbursed by Medicare, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has the power to "withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars from the Federal Reserve to support its operations."

As solutions to the problem of the imperial presidency, Cantor's online report offers two new laws: the Faithful Execution of the Law Act (H.R.3973) and the ENFORCE the Law Act (H.R.4138). The first would require federal officials who refuse to enforce a federal law to inform Congress and provide a reason; the second would enable the House or Senate to sue the Obama administration to compel it to faithfully implement the law, with expedited review by the courts.

These measures are a good first step, but the House needs to more effectively use its constitutional control of the purse strings and its exclusive power to propose revenue-raising laws. The House can hold hearings so Americans will know how the imperial presidency is using taxpayer money to violate the Constitution and advance a left-wing agenda.

The House can also pass more bills to reduce funding for specific federal operations. Such actions by the House can lay the groundwork for the election of a Republican Senate in the fall so a new Congress will be positioned to halt more dangerous erosion to the Constitution by the imperial presidency.

Phyllis Schlafly is a lawyer, conservative political analyst and author of 20 books. She is the co-author, with George Neumayr, of the New York Times Best-Seller titled "No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom." She can be contacted by e-mail at phyllis@eagleforum.org. To find out more about Phyllis Schlafly and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Website at www.creators.com.

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