Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, ripped into President Obama for regularly legislating on Obamacare and other issues from the Oval Office, but he didn’t stop there.
He also blasted Congress for letting Obama get away with it.
The tea-party favorite also criticized the Obama administration for trying to get business leaders to lie about Obamacare. He also aimed choice words at GOP leaders for allowing an extension of the debt ceiling with no conditions and for claiming they can’t really rein in spending until the GOP also controls the Senate and White House.
Earlier this week, President Obama declared another delay in the implementation of the employer mandate, specifically the part impacting businesses employing between 50-99 people. Those employers now have until 2015 to comply with the mandate. Republicans are characterizing this as another example of Obama unilaterally changing laws rather than enforcing them and ignoring the constitutional role of Congress to create or alter legislation.
Gohmert agrees with that assessment but says there’s more blame to go around.
“Not only is it egregious that someone in the executive branch is legislating – heck, I left the bench to run for Congress so that I could participate in legislation, because I knew the judiciary and the executive is not supposed to. Not only is that egregious, but the fact that Congress isn’t standing up against that sort of usurpation. Shame on the Democrats that won’t stand up against that,” said Gohmert, who lamented that the mandate delay is once again a lifeline for businesses while individual Americans get no such reprieve.
“It is helping business and screwing over middle-class Americans who are going to have to pay for this. It also points out how dishonest and disingenuous Harry Reid was when he shut down the government. We passed a bill that would postpone this for all Americans in our third compromise we offered. They wouldn’t do it. Now we see they were willing to do it. They just wanted to shut down the government because they knew the mainstream would blame Republicans. It is really outrageous,” he said.
Gohmert is also livid at revelations the Obama administration is forbidding employers from reducing staff to avoid qualifying for the mandate. The U.S. Treasury is reportedly telling employers they can make the staff reductions so long as they swear, under penalty of perjury, that Obamacare was not the reason for the jobs being eliminated.
“It’s this president and this executive branch putting a financial gun to the head of employers and saying you’ve got to go under oath and lie or you’re not going to be able to stay in business because the Obamacare penalty is going to hurt you so badly. It is really outrageous to force them to make a political statement for the administration in order to get what should be rightfully theirs under the law. Their is nothing in the law that says they can’t let employees go to get down to a certain level,” he said.
“They were going to force people to lay off employees, and now they’re going to force them to lie about why they laid them off. It is really just so wrong, so immoral on so many levels,” he said.
Another major story in Congress this week was both the House and Senate comfortably passing a debt-ceiling extension that gives President Obama borrowing authority for more than a year. The Senate version passed on Democratic votes, although a dozen Republicans helped them defeat a filibuster attempt. In the House, Speaker John Boehner bluntly informed the GOP Conference he was bringing forward a “clean” extension, with no demands on spending cuts, the Keystone XL pipeline or anything else attached. Democrats provided most of the votes for passage in the House as well, although 28 Republicans also backed the plan.
Sources close to the Republican leaders say Speaker Boehner offered a laundry list of conditions to attach to the debt-ceiling hike but that he was stymied by a large contingent of GOP members who refused to raise the debt ceiling under any circumstances. Gohmert said that’s simply not true.
“They should get out and talk to real members instead of just talking to themselves before they make statement’s like that,” he said.
“The executive branch should never have been given a blank credit card for the next year unless there were some measures on that bill that would have helped save America for the future,” he said.
“I don’t know how they came to a conclusion that they couldn’t get 218 (votes to pass a bill with conditions) because I talked to a number of people who are normally ‘no’ votes on raising the debt ceiling and proposed a couple of things that they said they’d be hard pressed not to vote for that. They thought they probably would. And these are people that were not whipped or checked by our leadership. So I don’t know how they could conclude, ‘No, we’ll never get enough people on anything, so let’s just throw in the towel completely,'” Gohmert said.
Republicans were widely believed to have little stomach for a debt-ceiling fight just months after taking much of the blame for the two-week partial government shutdown and just months before a midterm election in which the GOP appears poised to keep the House and make a strong run at winning back a majority in the U.S. Senate.
Many Republican lawmakers and commentators also assert that Republicans need to accept the political reality of Democratic control of the House and Senate. They say until the GOP controls both chambers of Congress and the White House, advancing conservative principles is next to impossible.
Gohmert said that rationale is deeply flawed on multiple fronts. First, he argues that Republicans have tremendous power on issues like debt and spending because the House controls the purse strings.
“You cannot get one dime appropriate for anything, including all of the pet projects of the White House, unless the Republicans in the House go along with it. We have the most important half of the legislative branch. Because we haven’t been willing to stand up for the Constitution and stand up for an end to this massive deficit spending like never in our history that’s going on under this president, the country is hurting,” Gohmert said.
The congressman also flatly rejects the notion that Republicans should not do anything too ambitious or controversial that could rock the boat in an election year. Gohmert said recent GOP history proves that strategy is a loser.
“I heard similar things back in the first of the year conference in 2006 when we had a Republican president, a Republican House and Senate majority. We were told at that time, ‘Gee, there’s a small chance we might lose the majority in November of 2006, so we better just hold up and not do anything. Our plan is, we’re not going to do anything big.
“We’re just going to try to get through the year without ruffling any feathers, and then in January 2007 we’ll come back,'” Gohmert said.
“I pointed out, ‘Look, if you think there’s any chance we could lose the majority here in the House, this has to be the year we stand up for what we believe in.’ It sounds like we’re going back into that now and saying, ‘Gee, we have the majority. The American public gave it to us because we promised if you gave us the majority in the House, we will stand up for America, and now we’re making it conditioned on getting the Senate and the White House before we stand up for what we believe’?” asked Gohmert.
He said the Democrats are certainly standing up for what they believe.
“Harry Reid certainly stood up in his war against children by spending future children’s money that we don’t even have, when he last September and October said, ‘No, I’m not negotiating at all,'” Gohmert said.
“If we felt as strongly about our principles as Harry Reid does about shutting down the government unless they can keep spending children’s and grandchildren’s money, then I think we would be able to prevail on things that would help America.”