Saying it’s long past time for the legislative branch to rein in President Obama and his successors, a conservative Republican congressman is bringing forth legislation to create a new permanent House committee to stop the president from exceeding the powers outlined in the Constitution.
Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., vaulted to prominence in early 2015 by running for speaker of the House against incumbent Republican John Boehner. Now he is introducing H. Res. 693, which would “establish the Permanent Select Committee on Oversight of the Executive Branch.”
“We have a constitutional crisis in this country. What we have to do is return that power back to the House for accountability, regardless of who’s in the executive branch,” Yoho said. “The whole purpose of this resolution is to get the executive branch to abide by Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, the take care clause, and faithfully execute the laws of the land.”
While he insists this is designed to hold all future presidents accountable, Yoho said there are copious examples of President Obama overstepping his constitutional powers. The congressman cited Obama’s unilateral action on immigration, his refusal to crack down on sanctuary cities and failing to allow the Senate to weigh in on apparent treaties such as the Iran nuclear deal and the climate-change agreement signed by scores of nations on Friday.
“They think it’s OK to negotiate with the U.N. and put us in a non-binding agreement,” Yoho said. “Bad things happen from that. They bypass the legislative branches, either the Senate or the House, in this case it would be the Senate with a treaty. It’s not doing the American people or our national security justice. We’re seeing it more with this president.”
But he said it’s not just about Obama. Three current presidential hopefuls convinced him that this panel is needed as soon as possible because he believes their instincts would be to grab more power for the presidency.
“You look at the possibility of having a Bernie Sanders as president or a Hillary Clinton or a Donald Trump; I personally feel any of those will look at ways of skirting around the Constitution because the legislative branch has allowed them to do that,” he said.
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.:
Yoho is getting two frequent questions since filing this bill along with Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, on April 19. The first is why the existing House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and various subcommittees can’t handle the job.
“How’s that been working to hold an executive accountable or somebody like (former Attorney General) Eric Holder accountable, who is charged with contempt? No results were seen by the American people,” Yoho said.
He said one advantage of a permanent committee overseeing the executive branch is that it could get to the bottom of investigations very quickly.
“It’ll live from one Congress to the next, or one administration to the next, instead of waiting for something to happen and then bring together a committee, which takes a year or two,” Yoho said.
The other major question directed to Yoho is confusion over why a bill helping Congress rein in the president was only introduced more than seven years into the Obama administration. He says the answer is simple.
“The political backbone up [on Capitol Hill], the willpower of a lot of people, they don’t want to get on anything that even looks like you’re reining in this president for whatever reason,” Yoho said.
Yoho points out that he and other members have made two other attempts to stop presidential power grabs. One bill would have clearly outlined what powers the president does and does not have on key issues.
“That bill we introduced over a year ago, and it got no traction,” he said. “People every day talk about what this president is doing unconstitutionally and how he’s overstepping that. When you put a vehicle out there to rein him in, there’s a big space between rhetoric and action.”
More recently, Yoho led the effort to censure Obama over the president freezing the Senate out of a chance to consider the Iran nuclear deal and for weakening national security. Again, it went nowhere.
While this new bill was just filed, GOP leaders seem very cool to the idea of this permanent committee. Yoho implores citizens to demand their representatives and senators beef up accountability for the White House and begin asserting the power of the legislative branch again.
“This is the time to do it,” Yoho said. “You or me as a private citizen, we have absolutely no recourse other than to voice that to our representatives. They are the only ones who can hold these people accountable.”