What Should the 114th Congress Do?
When the president announced his unconstitutional executive action to grant legal status to illegal aliens, I wondered what Congress might do, assuming it had any interest in doing anything, to make it difficult, if not impossible, for Obama's actions to be acted upon. Of the few ideas I heard or read, Senator Jeff Sessions's stood out above all the rest:
[The president's executive order] cannot be implemented if Congress simply includes routine language on any government funding bill prohibiting the expenditure of funds for this unlawful purpose. Such application of congressional power is ordinary, unexceptional, and used thousands of times.
I'm an accountant, so I am all about ordinary and unexceptional. And to be able to thwart an unconstitutional action of the Executive Branch of government by exercising a congressional power that has been used thousands of times, well, that is quite a contrast to the two, and only two, precedents that the Obama supporters cite (incorrectly) in their defense of the indefensible. I am referring to the use of executive orders by Reagan and Bush 41 to fix Simpson-Mazzoli.
What would really take Senator Session's idea to an even higher level would be if he could get this done in a manner that would disgust, say, someone like Jonathan Gruber. He could do this by proposing a simple law (actually, he will need a House member to propose a law), free from tortured language. He could follow a process that is so transparent that even certain members of the St. Louis Rams football team could see how it works, without needing to throw their hands up. In fact, if the plain-spoken senator could get enough TV time to explain what he is doing, some might accuse him of appealing to the intelligence of the American people, rather than relying on their stupidity.
I can think of no reasonable excuse for Senator Sessions and Congress not to proceed with this course of action, although Boehner, McConnell, and the entire RINO D.C. world will offer scores of excuses. They will, sadly, continue to rely on the stupidity of their voters.
But if the RINOs are really quiet for a moment, they will hear a screaming sound. The screams are coming from that Constitution that Boehner made the House members read from on January 6, 2011, the second day of the 112th Congress – the second day of Boehner's job as House leader, a position he was put in as a result of millions of Americans voting with constitutions clutched to their hearts, which Boehner and nearly every GOP member of the House who was elected that year swore to restore if they were elected.
This application of congressional power that is ordinary, unexceptional, and used thousands of times, as put forth by Senator Sessions, is screaming to be used – not just on immigration, but on so many other unconstitutional, out-of-control actions by our current president and his predecessors. (How about defunding those Federal Obamacare Exchanges or EPA climate change regulations?) Starting on January 3, 2015, with the opening of the 114th Congress, which will be the first day that the GOP controls one half of the elected government, it will be time for the old speaker of the House and the new majority leader in the Senate to lead – by taking congressional action, by asserting the power of the purse, by standing up for separation of powers.
Do your job, 114th Congress, and then be quiet. The screaming you will hear will then be coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Marc Hopin is the author of the children's book The Tooth Fairy Needs Your Teeth!