“I blame Congress more than the President because we really have not brought the issue before Congress as to whether or not the President should or should not have so much authority.” — Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) on executive power
There aren’t many in Congress who are willing to take strong stands against bad policies no matter who is sitting in the White House. Democrats were once strongly supportive of civil liberties, but now that President Obama is in the White House, there is little criticism to be found. And while expansive executive power and an aggressive foreign policy were popular during the Bush Administration, Obama’s expansion of these policies have started a conversation amongst conservatives.
Yesterday, I spoke with Rep. Walter Jones, a Republican who represents North Carolina’s Third Congressional District, about President Obama’s State of the Union address, foreign policy, and executive power.
Rep. Jones, who has served in Congress since 1995, has been at the forefront of questioning foreign policies decisions made by previous and current administrations. While he expressed disappointment that Obama didn’t talk in detail about the deficit, Rep. Jones explained that he was happy with the annoucement that 34,000 troops would be coming home from Afghanistan.
On foreign policy, Rep. Jones explained that a president has to come to Congress to get approval to take military action, in accordance with the Constitution. In response to President Obama’s unauthorized military action in Libya, Rep. Jones has proposed a resolution that seeks to hold this and future administrations accountable if they engaging in unilateral war.
Rep. Jones also told me that he is working on legislation with Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, that would rein in the outrageous abuse of executive power we’ve seen under President Obama. The intent is to prevent a president from bypassing Congress to make law. We’ll be catching up with Rep. Jones as that legislation makes its way through Congress.