Sen. Mike Lee to take on executive power
The House Republicans will continue to try to shake things up in the Obama Administration. They’re already launched inquiries and investigations unto the Solyndra and Operation Fast and Furious scandals, finding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress on the latter issue for his failure to comply with information requests.
According to The Daily Caller, Republicans aren’t done. Concerned about the expansion of executive power, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who once served as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, will go before the House Judiciary Committee today to testify on several examples of abuse of presidential authority:
The House Ways and Means Committee is drilling into how the Treasury Department terminated the pensions of 20,000 non-union Delphi salaried retirees during the 2009 auto bailout. House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa remains intent as ever on his quest for justice in the Operation Fast and Furious scandal. And, House Energy and Commerce committee Republicans are planning on continuing to draw attention to the failures of Obama’s green energy programs – with emphasis on Solyndra — as they’re moving forward with new “No More Solyndras” legislation.
According to Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, who is scheduled to visit the House side and testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, the hearing has a packed agenda aimed at confronting the Obama administration over its “unconstitutional” uses of power.
Among other things, Lee’s office said in a release forwarding information that was provided by the House Judiciary Committee, the hearing will focus in part on the president’s “prosecutorial discretion” — or administrative DREAM Act — immigration policies.
“The Executive branch has authority to set law enforcement priorities and to exercise prosecutorial discretion, but the Obama Administration has distorted and stretched these doctrines to unconstitutional ends,” the release Lee’s office sent out Monday outlining the plans the Judiciary Committee released reads. “By claiming the power to allow entire laws to go unenforced, the Administration has effectively suspended laws with which he disagrees. This is most flagrantly exhibited in the Administration’s decision to no longer enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act as to illegal immigrants who came to the United States as minors—effectively imposing the DREAM Act that failed to pass Congress.”
The release also explains that the hearing will accuse Obama of “evading” the Advice and Consent power of the U.S. Senate by “making ‘recess’ appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau even when the Senate, by its own rules, was in session.” In this part, the Judiciary Committee said that the Obama administration “has increasingly relied on its own ‘czars’ and White House personnel to set Administration policy in order to evade the Senate’s advice and consent power.”
The hearing will also rap Obama for internet regulations related to “net neutrality” that the committee says the Federal Communications Commission lacked “authority to regulate.”
The auto bailout is also likely to be examined, the committee says, as it argued that the “Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, acting on no legislative authority other than the raw power the Administration gained over GM & Chrysler when it bailed those companies out, abused the bankruptcy code to advance the Administration’s political interests over the rule of law.”
Let’s just hope the concern expressed by Republicans over the abuse of executive power isn’t short-lived because there is a Democrat in the White House. Obama’s predecessor certainly abuse his powers when in office, but criticism from Republicans was limited, at best. I do think that members of Congress that have been boosted by the Tea Party — including Lee and Rand Paul in the Senate and Tom McClintock, Justin Amash and several others in the House — will do a better job of holding their respective leadership’s feet to the fire to keep them accountable than in the past.
Either way, these abuses of executive power need to be looked at closely, not just because of partianship; but because of the groundwork being laid for the next president, who will no doubt use these powers as a floor, not a ceiling.