U.S. House of Representatives GOP leaders on Tuesday introduced a bill written to stymie what is being called Executive Overreach by lawmakers, constitutional experts and civil libertarians.
Reps. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Bob Goodlatte on behalf of the House Judiciary Committee unveiled H.R. 4138, the Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments of the Law Act — or simply ENFORCE the Law Act — as a result of President Barack Obama’s past use of executive actions designed to make an end run around the nation’s legislative branch of government.
The congressmen are also anticipating more of the same since Obama has boasted he has a “phone and a pen” that he will use to push his agenda be it gun control, climate change, the U.S. economy and other issues important to the left-wing of his political party.
Issa, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, Goodlatte, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Gowdy who is a ranking member of those committees, all claim they wish to return to a government system that balances “the separation of powers enshrined in the [U.S.] Constitution.”
According to the three lawmakers, the law was written following the examination of Obama Administration‘s selective enforcement of federal laws and his Attorney General’s interference in the laws of individual states if the President and Attorney General, Eric Holder, oppose the law or disagree with its outcomes.
One of the witnesses, constitutional scholar Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, a self-described liberal, testified:
“President Barack Obama has crossed the constitutional line between discretionary enforcement and defiance of federal law. Congress is given the defining function of creating and amending federal law. This is more than a turf fight between politicians.
The division of governmental powers is designed to protect liberty by preventing the abusive concentration of power. All citizens –Democratic or Republican or Independent – should consider the inherent danger presented by a President who can unilaterally
suspend laws as a matter of presidential license.
“In recent years, I have testified and written about the shift of power within our tripartite government toward a more Imperial Presidential model. Indeed, I last testified before this Committee on the assertion of President Obama that he could use the recess
appointment power to circumvent the Senate during a brief intrasession recess. While I viewed those appointments to be facially unconstitutional under the language of Article I and II (a view later shared by two federal circuits), I was equally concerned about the
overall expansion of unchecked presidential authority and the relative decline of legislative power in the modern American system.
“The recent non-enforcement policies add a particularly menacing element to this pattern. They effectively reduce the legislative process to a series of options for presidential selection ranging from negation to full enforcement. The Framers warned us of such a system and we accept it – either by acclaim or acquiescence – at our peril.”
During one of the Committee’s hearings Turley and other witnesses explained the meaning of Article II, section 3, of the U.S.