Critics say Barack Obama’s forays outside the Constitution are well known: His Obamacare and his arbitrary changes to the law, waiving work requirements under welfare reform, “recess” appointments, refusing to defend federal law (DOMA) and ignoring states that set up their own laws in direct conflict with federal law.
The Heritage Foundation has issued a report of the details, describing the “Top 10 Abusive Executive Actions,” including “inventing labor law ‘exemptions’ in violation of the WARN Act so that workers would not receive notice of impending layoffs days before the 2012 election.”
Now Congress is preparing to try to rein in the president, with legislative plans that would authorize even legal action against the White House if the circumstances require.
It’s parallel to a move already under way among the states calling for a constitutional convention, or a convention of the states, in which citizen legislatures can propose constitutional amendments. They could include term limits for Congress and the Supreme Court or a limit on executive orders through a process that bypasses the president, Congress and even their own governors.
A report by the Hill says the congressional proposal, which has two prongs, will be taken up next week.
The first is the ENFORCE Act, H.R. 4138, “which would allow the House or Senate to authorize legal action against the administration’s willful neglect of the law,” the Hill reported.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who has been supportive of the idea, said the bill “will give Congress the authority to defend this branch of government as the framers and our fellow citizens would expect.”
Also on the agenda is the Faithful Execution of the Law Act, H.R. 3973, to require that government report whenever a decision is make to ignore an existing federal law and explain why.
In the Washington Free Beacon, Elizabeth Harrington reported House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state and Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa of California talked about the goals in a recent conference call.
“Clearly President Obama has taken the über presidency to a whole new level,” McMorris Rodgers said. “While it’s not new for presidents to stretch their constitutional limits of power, executive overreach has accelerated at a faster pace under President Obama.”
She said that throughout “his tenure we have witnessed a pattern.”
“When the president disagrees with laws, he ignores them. And now that Obamacare isn’t working, President Obama is rewriting his own law on a whim.”
Issa said the left “is constantly bringing suits to the EPA based on not doing enough on clean air and clean water and so on, and they’re always granted standing and then ultimately they often are forcing the EPA through ‘sue and settle’ to do things.”
“And yet when the president does something through executive order, or the EPA does something beyond their jurisdiction, it’s very hard to get into court. So this is a really smart way to do it,” he said.
The movement among the states already is getting serious. WND reported this week that the first state already has adopted a plan to put the brakes on Washington.
Convention of States confirmed that the Georgia legislature on Thursday passed the organization’s application “to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.”
State Sen. Cecil Staton, R-Macon, told the organization he is “pleased that the Georgia legislature has given voice to the frustrations of millions of Georgians.”
“Enough is enough. It is time to impose fiscal and other restraints on our runaway federal government. We urge other states to join us,” said Macon, the primary sponsor of the resolution.
“We Georgians have become the hope of the nation today,” said Jacqueline Peterson, the Georgia state director for the Convention of States Project. “Many thanks to our state legislators for standing for liberty. May God bless us, every single one!”
The idea is to have an Article V Convention of States, the one process the U.S. Constitution gives to citizens to bypass the White House, Congress and even their own governors to establish a new path for the nation.
The new president in 2017 could face new limits on executive orders, Commerce Clause actions, a balanced federal budget and a ban on using international treaties to govern inside the U.S. if the state-based movement is successful. There could even be term limits for Supreme Court justices and Congress, and a mandatory sunset of all existing federal taxes.
The ideas are being discussed in legislatures where a Convention of the States has been proposed.
The Convention of States Project, launched by Citizens for Self Governance, is working to have state lawmakers call such a convention through the Constitution’s Article V.
Thousands of Americans already have signed on in support of the idea that Americans, themselves, need to address Washington’s massive spending, over-regulation and takeover of authority from states.
Michael Farris, who has been known for years as the face of the Home School Legal Defense Association and Patrick Henry College, now is on the front line of seeking a convention in which state delegates would meet, agree on a path for the country and then tell Congress what will happen.
The organization proposes a convention for “the purpose of limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.”
“We believe the grassroots is the key to calling a successful convention,” the promoters say. “The goal is to build a political operation in a minimum of 40 states, getting 100 people to volunteer in at least 75 percent of the state’s legislative districts. We believe this is very doable. Only through the support of the American people will this project have a chance to succeed.”
Among the issues that could fall under the single subject would be a balanced budget amendment, a new definition of the General Welfare Clause, a redefinition of the Commerce Clause, a ban on the use of treaty provisions inside the U.S., limits on executive orders, term limits for Congress and the Supreme Court, federal tax limits and a sunset of all existing federal taxes.
“Of course, these are merely examples of what would be up for discussion,” the promoters say. “The convention of states itself would determine which ideas deserve serious consideration, and it will take a majority of votes from the states to formally propose any amendments.”
Farris told WND he expects support for a convention to be gathered over a period of two to three legislative cycles.
The timing would align with the 2016 presidential election.
Farris said it definitely would throw a wrench in the works.
“In my opinion, a good wrench,” he said. “We are convinced that Washington, D.C., is broken and that it will never, ever fix itself.”
He said all three branches need fixing.
“The judiciary legislates, the legislative branch, the Congress uses power it never was intended to have, and the president misuses power worse that George III ever thought of,” he said.
He earlier told WND that Washington, D.C., “will never voluntarily relinquish power.”
“If we allow Washington, D.C., to continue on its current course of big government, it will utterly destroy American liberty. Debt is the most tangible method of destruction. But big government complete with spying on the American public, the improper use of executive orders, over-regulation, etc., etc., will most certainly destroy American liberty relatively soon.”
See the case for a Convention of the States: