House Passes ‘Enforce the Law’ Act, But Obama Says Fat Chance
The House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that would make it easier to file a lawsuit against the President should Congress believe he is not fully enforcing federal laws as they pass them. The vote passed 233 to 181, with every Republican voting for the measure and five Democrats on board as well. Still, according to many, there’s no need to get upset or excited yet, as the measure likely won’t have a chance with the Senate, and is almost certainly going to be vetoed by President Barack Obama. According to the Washington Post, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that the bill will be “dead on arrival” in the Senate.
The bill would make it so that legislatures would be able to take a case to a three-judge panel from a federal district court, then quickly appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, expediting the process by which they can hold the President accountable. The real issue behind the bill is likely immigration, with many Republicans concerned that any immigration reform they could get through Congress would be undermined by the President — especially in terms of deportations — and therefore not worth pursuing this year.
“At every turn, it’s clear that the House Republican leadership is hell-bent on doing damage to the immigrant community and subjecting our families to ongoing fear, exploitation, and suffering … President Obama has the authority to stop senseless deportations and we’re going to continue to insist that he does. And we won’t let him or leaders in Congress off the hook for their complicity in the moral crisis the immigrant community faces,” said Maria Fernanda Cabello, organizer for the United We Dream group, or “the largest immigrant-youth led network in the country.” Other items the GOP have criticized the President on for weak enforcement include the Affordable Care Act, immigration policy as it stands now, sentencing laws, and the same-sex marriage ban.
“The Constitution gives Congress the responsibility to write the laws and the executive to enforce them. We don’t pass suggestions. We don’t pass ideas. We pass laws,” said Representative Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) to the Washington Post. Many Democrats, on the other hand, noted what they felt was an ironic “do-nothing Congress” looking for a way to punish Obama for being a “do-something president.”
The President’s administration released a statement on H.R. 4138, or the “ENFORCE the Law Act of 2014″ in which he made it clear that the bill would never make it to law, stating that it “violates the separation of powers by purporting to permit the Congress to challenge in court the exercise by the President of one of his core constitutional functions … the power the bill purports to assign to Congress … exceeds constitutional limitations.” It goes on to say that should the bill make it through to the President, “his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill” — a recommendation that would be, undoubtedly, unnecessary for his decisive composting of the act.
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