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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director
Monday, December 23, 2013
At least 35 House members set to sue Obama
'Everybody's bound by the law, including the president. He's not exempt'
On Dec. 19, the Obama administration made its 14th change to Obamacare without requesting congressional action to make the amendments. Such a move is precisely why an effort is underway in the House of Representatives to sue President Obama and force him to abide by constitutional restraints.
The measure is known as the Stop This Overreaching Presidency, or STOP, Act and is sponsored by freshman Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C. He told WND this is about abiding by the Constitution.
“Article II, Section 3, requires the president to faithfully execute the laws of the United States. Everybody’s bound by the law, including the president. He is not exempt,” Rice said. “If a president is allowed to pick and choose which laws he wishes to enforce, it creates tremendous opportunities for wrongdoing.
“What would we say if the next president who came in decided he didn’t like Obamacare and he wasn’t going to enforce any part of it? What would we say if a president decided he wasn’t going to enforce the maximum bracket on the income tax, or wasn’t going to enforce the income tax on his political friends? Of course, those things wouldn’t be tolerated,” Rice said. “We’ve got a similar type of lines going on here with Obamacare. We’ve got the president giving 1,300 exemptions. We’ve got him waiving the employer mandate for businesses but applying the individual mandate for the common conservative. It’s not right. The law has got to be applied uniformly.”
He said he actually started exploring this legislation earlier in the year based on comments made by a Democrat.
“I started working on this last July,” Rice said. “Right after the extension of the employer mandate was in the press, one of the Democratic senators said, ‘How can the president do this?’ That’s what spurred me to look at what we could do to force the president to enforce the law,” Rice said.
While executive branch changes to Obamacare are the most visible examples of Obama altering laws, Rice said there are plenty of other examples, too.
“In the resolution, we list four specific things. One is the waiver of the work requirements under the welfare law. One is the granting of legal work status to illegal immigrants en masse. One is the waiver of the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act. The fourth is the extension for one year of the ability of the insurance companies to sell ‘substandard insurance policies.’ In this case, substandard means any insurance policy that people actually want to buy,” he said.
The congressman pointed out that the resolution only needs to pass the House, since the House can file or defend a lawsuit as a standalone institution. He said that would carry far more weight in a federal court than a lone member filing suit. He said he didn’t “ask permission” from GOP leaders before filing the bill, and a conversation with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor gives him reason for optimism.
“I have spoken to Cantor about it, and he seems interested in it. I think the chances of it hitting the floor are pretty good,” said Rice, who revealed he has 34 co-sponsors, including three House Judiciary Committee members. He said the ultimate success of the effort will depend upon how vocal the American people are about making sure the president follows the Constitution.
Democrats are expected to label the effort as another attempt by Republicans to scuttle Obamacare because they can’t accept that was passed and signed into law. Rice said that’s not the goal at all.
“I hear that a lot, but they don’t want to enforce what was passed. That’s the problem. They want to enforce the parts that they want. Let’s enforce exactly what was passed,” he said.
“This is not a tea-party thing,” he added. “This is not a Democrat versus Republican thing. This is not any personal animosity toward the president. What the president is doing undermines our constitutional protections, the separation of powers. Congress makes the laws. The president enforces the laws, and he’s refusing to do that. He’s not carrying out his constitutional duty and I simply want him to do what he’s required to do by the Constitution,” said Rice.