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November 21, 2014
Responding To Obama's Executive Amnesty: Let Obama Give The State Of The Union Somewhere Else
With the die officially cast on Obama's executive amnesty, attention now turns to the response from congressional leaders. Not only is this a fight about Obama's policies but something far more important, a unilateral power grab from the legislative branch of government. Boehner and McConnell may not want to want to take Obama on over immigration but they should be heavily invested in protecting the power of the legislature to make laws.
Yesterday we saw a number of ideas floated about how to respond....rescission, lawsuits, de-funding and withholding votes on nominees to name a few on the table. There's one idea I'd like to add that is in many ways symbolic but that would focus the nation on the seriousness of this problem, do not invite Obama to address a joint session of Congress to deliver the State of the Union address.
The Constitution simply requires that "He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." Nothing requires that he do so in person. The modern in person State of The Union dates back to Woodrow Wilson but Truman, Eisenhower and Nixon all gave written reports as was the custom from Thomas Jefferson to Wilson.
And Presidents don't simply show up whenever they please to address the Congress, they must be formally invited. That's where Boehner and McConnell can strike a blow for the legislature...simply don't invite him.
Yesterday, Boehner said, "The president had said before that he's not king and he's not an emperor," Boehner says. "But he's sure acting like one."
Why would the Speaker invite such a man to address "the people's house"? All Obama would do would use the time to lecture members of a co-equal branch on what they must do and what he deems acceptable work product for them. Members of the United States Congress are under no obligation to sit mutely while the President brow beats them.
Obama has said he doesn't feel compelled to listen to the voters who showed up to the polls a little over two weeks ago. The Representatives elected by those people should make it clear they are simply acting in kind, they will not listen to him.
Yes the media will be apoplectic about this. Good, that's the point. This is a serious moment in our nation's history. I've not seen a single Republican, even ones who strongly support legislative amnesty, support the President on this. The outrage caused by what is an extreme step will help to focus the nation on the threat to our constitutional order.
The President and his supporters have repeatedly said the "prosecutorial discretion" he claims is well within in the law and his power. Well, not inviting the President to speak to the assembled members of Congress is well within the discretion and power of the Speaker of the House.
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