By Brad Wenstrup
This week, the Supreme Court is hearing a case concerning President Obama’s improper – and as a lower court ruled, unconstitutional – appointment of members to the National Labor Relations Board. These appointments are just one example of the precarious drift that our government is taking – moving away from the rule of law and toward governing by executive decree.
In a manner that I feel would sadden our founding fathers, President Obama’s administration has engaged in contemptible abuse of our constitutional system.
We see draconian regulations from bureaucrats that have the power of law without representation. Work-seeking requirements written in the law have been eliminated from welfare programs without any vote to change the law. Presidential orders have been given to ignore existing immigration laws. Requirements under the Affordable Care Act (aka the ACA, or Obamacare) have been waived for special interest groups.
Manipulation of the health care law has been the most blatant example of executive abuses. The President has redrafted, reinterpreted, and delayed large portions of the law, without a single vote by the lawmaking branch of the federal government: the United States Congress.
The Constitution gives a president the authority to sign or veto legislation passed by Congress, and tasks him to “faithfully execute” and enforce the law. A president cannot write, pass, or rewrite legislation.
Our nation’s laws are not options on a menu, where politicians and presidents can pick and choose what will be enforced and what will be ignored. Defenders of the ACA are quick to say, “It’s the law, upheld by the Supreme Court,” yet they are silent about the administration not actually adhering to the law.
Don’t get me wrong. I support repealing the ACA and replacing it with patient-centered, free market solutions that increase access to care, lower costs, and help and protect those with pre-existing conditions. Just one example is the American Health Care Reform Act, currently cosponsored by a majority of Republicans.
Off-the-cuff changes and delays to the ACA, decided by the President without proper legislative authority, confuse and confound American individuals and businesses alike. More so, these actions by the administration trample the Constitution and upend the vital balance of power the framers intended.
We’re taking action in the House. Legislation that I have cosponsored seeks to stop these abuses; the Stop This Overreaching Presidency Resolution (H.Res. 442) seeks a civil injunction as the rampant abuses by President Obama are challenged in the courts
President Obama has said, “We’re going to do everything we can, wherever we can, with or without Congress.” Members of Congress were elected to represent “We the People” as well.
We were formed as a nation of laws – laws crafted by representatives of the people. America has achieved great things by adhering to the principles of our legal framework. The fundamental genius of the American Republic came from the simple, yet absolute, affirmation that we as a nation operate by rule of law, law crafted by the many, not the one.
Congressman Brad Wenstrup represents Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.