First it was “Yes, we can!” Then it was “Pass this bill!” Now the latest slogan from President Barack Obama is “We can’t wait.”
Expressing his frustration with Congress’s failure to pass his American Jobs Act and other initiatives, Obama told a Nevada audience on October 24: “We can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will.”
As The New American’s Raven Clabough reported the next day, Obama’s chosen means of circumventing the legislative process is to issue executive orders and other directives — at least one per week for the remainder of the year, aides said.
Obama’s first orders after announcing his new policy were: (1) to use Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to enable borrowers who owe more than their houses are worth to refinance at lower interest rates; (2) to reduce the size of student loan payments; and (3) to challenge community health centers to hire veterans. Only the third, an essentially meaningless gesture, is plainly within the President’s purview. The others — particularly the first, which could put taxpayers on the hook for trillions of dollars in loan guarantees — “would generally be subjected to” congressional approval, Clabough noted.
“This isn’t just a figurative slap in the face to both Congress and the rule of law; this is a kick in the groin,” asserted Mark J. Fitzgibbons at American Thinker. The President, after all, is only to “recommend to [Congress’s] consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient” and to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” according to Article II of the U.S. Constitution. “All legislative powers” are “vested” in Congress, says Article I. From a legal standpoint, therefore, Obama may only prod and plead with Congress to enact his agenda; he may not enact it by fiat.