Obama’s Executive Action Power Play

by William Teach | January 31, 2014 8:12 am

During the 2014 SOTU Obama formalized his plan to essentially ignore the duly elected Legislative Branch and act through Executive Orders. This is very much what he has been doing for the entirety of his time in the presidential office, excepting for a few big pieces of legislation, like Obamacare and the failed Stimulus. He often side-stepped Congress even during his first two years, when both the Senate and House were controlled by Democrats.

(Politico[1]) In an FDA office building in suburban Maryland, the bureaucrats gather over coffee to draft rules meant to squeeze the trans fat out of snack foods.

Four blocks from the White House, in an EPA conference room: more bureaucrats, more meetings, more drafting of rules, these aimed at forcing industrialists to spend billions cutting carbon to fend off global warming.

Congress? Who needs Congress?

Americans heard President Barack Obama declare this week that he intends to bypass the gridlocked Hill to get things done on his own. What they didn’t hear: just how far he’s actually pushing his executive authority.

An in-depth examination of the administration’s actions and plans, agency by agency, regulation by regulation, reveals an executive power play that’s broad and bold – and intensely ambitious. Far more than he let on in the State of the Union, the president has marshaled the tools of his office to advance policies, many unabashedly liberal, that push deep into everyday life for tens of millions of Americans.

That should give everyone, including Democrats/Obama supporters a case of the willys. What you have is a Chief Executive run amok, ignoring the Constitutional checks and balances.:  It should also concern people that Congress has given up so much of their duly constituted power to the Chief Executive. Consider Obamacare: despite being a 2000+ (legislatively) document, its specificity only went so far, and gave vast amounts of rule making authority to the President and his department heads, particularly the head of HHS. The contraception mandate? That came from rule making. It’s not in the text of the ACA.

He wants to change how power plants operate. And what we buy for lunch. How we travel to work. And how our kids learn math. How our gasoline is formulated. How we light our aquariums. (snip)

And it’s not Congress, but the executive branch, that’s on the verge of making Hershey’s reformulate its Reese’s Pieces. (Out, out, trans fat!) (snip)

Whether American guns can be sold abroad. How smokeless tobacco can be marketed. Which nonprofits can stage get-out-the-vote drives. What constitutes a single serving of potato chips.

And, perhaps, just how salty those chips should be.

So much of rule making is being driven by a micro-managing White House, rather than originating in the Federal agencies. These are rules that directly affect US citizens, and can affect our freedom, our choice, and our cost of living. These are the actions of a dictator-lite, someone who is drunk with power.

Not all of the executives actions are necessarily bad, nor intrusive. Many are done with the input of industry. But, then, if the White House comes calling, industry is going to tend to listen under duress.

To Republicans, however, he’s gone quite far enough.

They’ve called the president’s tactics abusive and arrogant, a brazen end run around the checks and balances built into the Constitution.

“This president’s use of executive power in areas where he has failed to build a necessary consensus for legislative action has been unprecedented,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “This disregard for the rule of law and lack of transparency sets a dangerous precedent.”

Part of the problem is Obama’s “leadership” style. In some big cases, he makes a speech, pushes a subject, then just expects Someone Else to do the work to get it passed in Congress. Yet, he often doesn’t bother reaching out to Congress, not even his own Party. He barely has talks with Republicans, mostly just immediately deeming them obstructionists and denigrating them. Why would he expect any cooperation when he acts in a hyper-partisan manner? He never learned the trick of reaching across the aisle. He barely had any comrades amongst Senate Democrats, much less any links to Congressional Republicans during his brief time in the US Senate.

Another part is that he is lazy[2]. He doesn’t want to take the time to do the necessary work of the Office Of The President. Followed by that he seems to enjoy being a dictator-lite.

In his first term, his administration enacted 246 regulations classified as “economically significant,” meaning they carry an economic impact of more than $100 million. That’s considerably more than either George W. Bush or Bill Clinton enacted in either of their terms. The Obama administration has added another 54 economically significant regulations so far in his second term. Many are connected to the health care law or Dodd-Frank.

The Heritage Foundation[3] slices the data another way. It looks at how many regulations are “prescriptive,” meaning they impose mandates on the private sector. Its tally: 131 “prescriptive” rules issued during Obama’s first term – and 31 added last year. By comparison, Bush issued 52 prescriptive rules during his first term, said Diane Katz, a research fellow at the foundation.

All these regulations and rules and executive actions affect real people, often in negative ways. Now that he has declared that he is unfettered during his last 3 years in office, expect more of this. Make sure to read the whole article at Politico. It’s an excellent bit of journalism by Stephanie Simon, the kind of article typically only done while a Republican is in office.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove[4]. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach[5].

  1. Politico: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/01/obamas-power-play-102904.html?hp=t1_7
  2. lazy: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/12/23/obama_i_think_theres_a_laziness_in_me.html
  3. Heritage Foundation: http://www.heritage.org/
  4. Pirate’s Cove: http://www.thepiratescove.us/
  5. @WilliamTeach: http://twitter.com/WilliamTeach

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