Photo Credit: American Spectator President Obama does not have the authority to choose which parts of the law are enforced. In 1975, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously against President Richard Nixon’s inflated claims that he could selectively carry out the law. But going to court to keep presidents in line is slow and necessitates finding litigants to sue the president. The framers gave Congress a more practical way to resist a power-hungry president: defunding. Defunding is precisely what members of Congress are supposed to do when a president breaks the law. It’s checks and balances in action. Two centuries ago, the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution James Madison declared in Federalist No. 58 that Congress’s authority over spending is the “most complete and effectual tool” to stop a president from grabbing more power than the Constitution allows.
Utah Senator Mike Lee is taking a page out of Madison’s playbook. On July 17 Lee urged Congress to vote against any continuing resolution to fund the federal government after September 30 so long as it funds Obamacare. “Laws are supposed to be made by Congress, not…[by] the president, who has now amended Obamacare twice. Once by saying individuals have to comply with the law during their first year but employers don’t. Then in saying we aren’t even going to require people to prove their income.” Lee said that if the administration is not prepared to fully enforce Obamacare as enacted, it should agree to delay the entire law and remove its funding from the budget. Eleven fellow Republican Senators and at least 60 Republican House members have signed on to Lee’s defunding stance.
Lee’s constitutional case is air tight. Yet the Democratic Party and Obama’s supporters in the media are trying to label the defunding strategy “government sabotage,” “radicalism,” and “obstructionism.” They need a refresher course on the Constitution.
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