Color Chris Wallace someone who does not like the idea of the President using power he doesn’t have to push his own agenda. On Fox News Sunday the intrepid reporter went toe-to-toe with Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) about where President Obama believes he gets the authority to simply do whatever he wants if he thinks Congress is acting too slowly.
Wallace: “What is the president’s legal authority to take all of these unilateral actions without going back to Congress?”
Becerra: “The list you showed are all things the American public wants to see.”
Wallace: “The Constitution does not say ‘Hey if it’s popular, you can exceed your authority.’ It’s kind of irrelevant… “What is his legal authority for taking this action without going back to Congress?”
Becerra: “The president has the authority — as the executive — to implement the laws,” Becerra answered. “If there is a law that says that we will pay a federal contractor money, the president can say ‘ok federal contractors, you can’t gouge your workers because you’re getting federal taxpayer money to do the work.”
Wallace: “But is he implementing the law?… Or is he rewriting the law?”
Becerra: “No, he’s not rewriting it because he is simply implementing it,”
Needless to say, things are not as cut and dry as Congressman Becerra would lead us to believe. On more than a few occasions, the President has overstepped his bounds and undertaken action that should be the purview of Congress, not the Executive. Republicans are right to hold the President’s feet to the fire and demand that he stop overreaching on executive action…
However, (and this may make my Republican friends a bit upset) Democrats are ALSO RIGHT (how often do I say that? Never!). Democrats are also right because Republicans simply rolled over and let President Bush get away with Presidential overreach too. The Democrats complained then and Republicans pretended nothing was wrong… and now the shoe is on the other foot and we see the same situation playing out in reverse. (Though I do believe that President Obama’s actions have been more egregious and severe.)
The answer is to tell Presidents from both parties that rampant executive orders are NEVER okay. There are areas of the government under Congress’ authority, and there are areas of the government under the President’s authority. Our government is designed this way to protect “We the People” from despotic and oligarchic tyranny from our government. So… let’s all fight executive overreach all of the time… not just when the other Party’s guy is in the White House.
And just to prove that Fox News and Chris Wallace aren’t conservative “hacks” who only attack Democrats, here’s another segment from Sunday where Wallace lays into former President Bush advisor Karl Rove about the very same issue!
“I think it’s fair to say you worked at a White House that took a pretty expansive view of executive powers, whether it was signing statements by President Bush when he was signing bills into law or the way that he waged the war on terror.”
Thanks, Chis Wallace, for taking on executive overreach from both parties.
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