On Wednesday’s “Special Report” during the “All-Star Panel” segment, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer explained why statistics comparing the number executive orders of presidents is an irrelevant statistic despite showing President Barack Obama (182) lags behind former Presidents Bill Clinton (364) and George W. Bush (291) in that category.
According to Krauthammer it is the scope of those executive orders and he pointed to immigration, drug and health care laws as examples.
“It’s a completely irrelevant statistic,” Krauthammer said. “The statistic that matters is the breadth and the scope of each of these executive orders. Obama has essentially rewritten the laws on immigration, on drugs and then he rewrites his own Affordable Care Act after it passes. You cannot do this. The Constitution says the laws are passed by Congress have to be carried out by the executive. Everybody knows what Obama did with the employer mandate and individually canceled plans with deadlines he decrees just on his own are going to be postponed. It’s called implementation latitude. That’s not what is coming on here. He’s essentially having a blank slate and writing his laws.”
“On immigration, the Congress was asked in 2006 whether it wanted to do the DREAM Act which is to say the people children will not be deported. The Congress said no. Obama essentially enacted it by ordering the ICE, the immigration service, not to deport young people, that’s a contradiction of how the system works. With the drug laws, the administration has ordered prosecutors not to prosecute certain drug laws. Well, that’s fine if we agree on that, we should have a debate in Congress and if we pass it, the policy issue could be a good one. But you cannot do it unilaterally, which is why it’s a good thing what the House is doing. There might be a way and it has a novel theory here on how it can get standing in the courts. The reason hasn’t gotten redress because of the courts have said Congress has no standing. This, perhaps, is a way to get it.”
Krauthammer indicated he was willing to give Obama leeway on his war powers, but warned that if Obama wasn’t not limited in use of this power, it would render Congress totally irrelevant.
“Well, here is the counter-argument: In foreign affairs in the conduct of war, there has been a constant tug of war between the executive and the Congress for 250 years because it’s ambiguous. It’s hard to see where Congress’ power stop, the executive starts. And this is a struggle, for instance, the war powers act has been on the books 40 years. There is not one president who has ever accepted it as real law. Some of adhere to it nonetheless. So, in that area, there is an argument and you often get executives reaching or you might say overreaching. But, on domestic law, there is no ambiguity. You pass a law. You can’t amend it after it passed. And that’s why I think that’s why the usurpations of this administration are so obviously egregious and why the frustration of Republicans and now it’s a principled liberals like Jonathan Turley who talks about an uber presidency are so important. You have to put a stop to that or the Congress becomes totally irrelevant.”
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