Earlier this week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), son of former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), slammed over the measures President Barack Obama planned to take in what the White House claimed was an effort to curb violence.
During the interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Sen. Paul explained, “I’m against having a king,” adding that a president who creates law by executive fiat is runs counter to the government formed by the Founding Fathers. “I think having a monarch is what we fought the American Revolution over and someone who wants to bypass the Constitution, bypass Congress — that’s someone who wants to act like a king or a monarch.”
Sen. Paul warned that the White House would have a fight on his hands if he signed any executive orders that bypassed Congress. On Thursday, the day after President Obama’s press conference where he announced that he would sign 23 executive orders dealing with guns, Sen. Paul announced that he would introduce legislation to protect the Second Amendment from executive fiat:
As published by Talking Points Memo, here are his intentions in what he calls the “Separation of Powers Restoration and Second Amendment Protection Act.”
Paul says his legislation will declare that “Any executive order by President Obama infringing on the Second Amendment rights of all Americans would be declared null and void” and “would prohibit federal funds to implement President Obama’s executive orders impacting the 2nd Amendment.”
Flanked by children during a press conference earlier today, President Barack Obama introduced a series of executive orders — completely bypassing Congress — that he says will reduce gun violence in the United States:
President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced what he called a “common sense measures” plan to reduce gun violence, including legislation for a universal background check and new bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
He also initiated 23 executive actions aimed at improving background checks, school security and mental health care, in an effort to go around Congress wherever possible.
“I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality,” Obama said in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, joined by survivors of gun violence and several children who had written to him after the December shooting in Newtown, Conn. “If there’s even one thing that we can do to reduce this violence, if there’s even one life that can be saved, then we have an obligation to try. And I’m going to do my part.”
President Obama also on Congress to pass other measures, including the assault weapons ban and limited magazines to 10 rounds. All of the measures — executive orders and the legislation that will be introduced in Congress — have been outlined in a document from the White House, which you can read here.
The meeting yesterday between Vice President Joe Biden’s gun control task force and the National Rifle Association didn’t go that well. Biden is expected to hand his recommendations to President Barack Obama on Tuesday, who will, in turn, push for legislation from Congress to enact them.
In addition to reintroducing the assault weapons ban and trying to eliminate the so-called “gun show loophole,” Biden laid down some of the policies that will be pursued by the White House in Congress in the coming days:
Biden gave the most detailed description so far of what his panel will propose, telling sporting groups at the start of their session that there is broad consensus among those he has surveyed to require background checks on all gun purchases and to restrict the amount of ammunition that can be included in a gun magazine.
After the meeting the NRA issued a statement explaining, “While claiming that no policy proposals would be ‘prejudged,’ this Task Force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners — honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans.”
Some may be questioning why the NRA even entertained the White House when the outcome was so obvious. From a standpoint of public perception, it’s not like they had much of a choice. If they didn’t go, it would look like they weren’t even interested in a discussion. But if they did go, they provided the White House with a talking point that they had “met with the NRA.” It was a lose-lose for them.
So Senator Mitch McConnell has released a “solution” to the debt ceiling crisis. Jason has already jumped on this topic, but I feel the need to add my own two cents. For me, the crucial portion of this non-solution is that it gives additional power to the White House, and perpetuates a seeming tradition of Congress abdicating responsibility that we’ve seen over the past decade.
The entire deal punts the debt and spending over to the President. Essentially, he decides to raise the debt limit. While Congress can pass a “bill of disapproval” with a two-thirds majority, the President can simply veto, which would then require a 2/3 vote to override. The plan would also require the President to make spending cuts roughly equal to the increase in the debt limit (as I understand it.) Yet there is no enforcement mechanism that I can see to ensure he does so. What would Congress do if he raised the debt limit with no corresponding cut in spending? Stamp their feet? It might be all they can do.
Haven’t we seen enough power consolidated in the Oval Office yet?
I mean, the President can assassinate people with a drone without so much as a whoopsie-daisy; have anyone imprisoned on suspicion of terrorism and interrogated; can have a lovely jaunt off to war and only send Congress a politely-worded letter; formulate budgets and tax policy while merely requesting Congressional approval; through executive agencies and department make and enforce law without a vote; and now we’re going to give him the power to unilaterally raise the debt limit with requirements that are so wishy-washy they make Natty Light look good?
“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.
Don’t look now, folks, but the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is making a comeback thanks to President Barack Obama.
Between the end of 2011 and early 2012, online activists were able to raise a firestorm over legislation — Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), and CISPA — that would have severely diminished Internet privacy. Thanks to the outcry, all three bills eventually died.
According to a report yesterday from The Hill, President Obama will on Wednesday sign an executive order — completely bypassing Congress, which is becoming an all too familar pattern with this White House — that will implement cybersecurity measures from against attack on the United States:
The White House is poised to release an executive order aimed at thwarting cyberattacks against critical infrastructure on Wednesday, two people familiar with the matter told The Hill.
The highly anticipated directive from President Obama is expected to be released at a briefing Wednesday morning at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where senior administration officials will provide an update about cybersecurity policy.
The executive order would establish a voluntary program in which companies operating critical infrastructure would elect to meet cybersecurity best practices and standards crafted, in part, by the government.
With President Obama set to issue a series of executive orders today dealing with guns, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is speaking out against what is a clear overreach of power. During an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Sen. Paul explained that President Obama is behaving like a king, which is exactly what the Founding Fathers fought against.
“I’m against having a king,” said Sen. Paul. “I think having a monarch is what we fought the American Revolution over and someone who wants to bypass the Constitution, bypass Congress — that’s someone who wants to act like a king or a monarch.”
While President Obama thinks he’s getting around Congress with these executive orders, Sen. Paul warned, “[W]e will fight tooth and nail; and I promise you that there will be no rock left unturned as far as trying to stop him from usurping the Constitution, running roughshod over Congress, and you will see one heck of a debate if he decides to try to do this.”
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.
On Thursday, the United States Senate shot down so-called “cybersecurity” legislation in a mostly party line vote. Many Senate Democrats tried to hype up the bill as something that could prevent a worst-case scenario, but Republicans were concerned that it would put too much on businesses.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) noted that the bill was a trojan horse, explaining that “In its current form, the Cybersecurity Act does not sufficiently safeguard Internet users’ privacy and civil liberties, nor would it create the correct incentives to adequately protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from cyber threats.” Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, also explained that all the cybersecurity legislation would have done is create a headache for business and, as Wyden noted, put privacy at risk through data sharing with the federal government:
Earlier this week, I noted that Mitt Romney had taken a view of presidential war powers that was even more troubling than that of President Barack Obama, who had taken part in a bombing campaign of Libya without congressional approval. Romney told Bob Schieffer, host of Face the Nation, that he didn’t need authorization from Congress to go to war with Iran.
For all the recent talk from our conservative friends about executive overreach by President Obama, Romney comments are perhaps even more startling given the potential consquences of unilaterally going to war with Iran, both from constitutional and foreign policy perspectives. And even though he has endorsed him, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) isn’t happy with Romney’s recent declaration:
I do not yet know if I will find a Romney presidency more acceptable on foreign policy. But I do know that I must oppose the most recent statements made by Mitt Romney in which he says he, as president, could take us to war unilaterally with Iran, without any approval from Congress. His exact words were:
I can assure you if I’m president, the Iranians will have no question but that I will be willing to take military action if necessary to prevent them from becoming a nuclear threat to the world. I don’t believe at this stage, therefore, if I’m president that we need to have a war powers approval or special authorization for military force. The president has that capacity now.
This is a misreading of the role of the president and Congress in declaring war.