By Melanie Batley
Congressional Democrats and activists, frustrated with the gridlock in Washington, are pressing President Barack Obama to bypass Congress and use his executive authority to achieve progress on a number of top liberal issues.
According to The Washington Times, the president has already invoked his powers to change laws on issues ranging from immigration and healthcare to welfare and education laws, and supporters want him to go further.
“In light of Republican obstructionism, it should be no surprise to anyone that the administration is moving more and more toward executive action,” Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist, told the Times.
“The problem, however, is you can do a lot more via the legislative process than you can do through executive orders.”
On healthcare reform, the president has taken a number of unilateral decisions on the application of the law to meet his political objectives.
For example, he single-handedly suspended the employer mandate, made a decision that people could receive subsidies even if they’re not participating in Obamacare’s state-run health exchanges. He also decided that states have the authority to approve existing insurance plans even if they are not in keeping with the new requirements in the Affordable Care Act.
Obama also made waves when he decided to halt the deportation of “Dreamers,” or immigrants who were illegally brought to the U.S. as minors, even though Congress voted against the policy.
Republicans and legal experts have argued that Obama has far overstepped his authority and run roughshod over the constitutional system.
But supporters say he should go further. More than two dozen House Democrats wrote a letter to Obama saying he should exercise his authority to give amnesty to all illegal immigrants.
And liberal lawmakers also are pressing him to use executive authority for measures to achieve greater income equality.
“The problem with what the president is doing is that he is not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system; he is becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid: that is, the concentration of power in any single branch,” Jonathan Turley, law professor at George Washington University, told the House Judiciary Committee this week, according to the Times.
“We’ve had the radical expansion of presidential powers under by President Bush and President Obama,” Turley added. “We have what many once called an imperial presidency model of largely unchecked authority. And with that trend we also have the continued rise of this fourth branch. We have agencies that are now quite large that issue regulations.”
- George Will: Obama Ignores Law, Like Nixon
- Rep. Goodlatte: Obama Rewriting Laws, Ignoring Constitution
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