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Mitch McConnell and Obama

Bill Clark CQ Roll Call | AP Photo

The Cave Has Begun

By: Gaston Mooney | February 24th, 2015

D
60%
Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY) - R
D
60%
Sen. John Thune (SD) - R
F
45%
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (NH) - R
F
50%
Sen. John McCain (AZ) - R
F
53%
Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) - R

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The cave has begun. Last night, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) started the process of bringing up a standalone bill that would only overturn Obama’s executive amnesty issued last fall. It would leave in place the previous executive amnesty from 2012, DACA.  What Senate Leadership won’t tell you is that the standalone bill is designed to fail. Democrats will block the bill and then Senate Republicans will move either a long-term bill to fully fund Obama’s executive amnesty and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or only a short-term bill to fund Obama’s executive amnesty and DHS. Both are unacceptable options to conservatives.

The McConnell plan is designed to allow Senate Republicans to go back to their constituents saying they voted against executive amnesty, without really having to take a stand against it.

Senator John Thune (R-SD) foreshadowed this charade of a ‘drive by vote’ back in January, when he said, "Obviously we want to give our members an opportunity to vote to express their opposition to the president’s action.” The McConnell plan is designed to allow Senate Republicans to go back to their constituents saying they voted against executive amnesty, without really having to take a stand against it.

Don’t be fooled.

The liberal media and liberal Republicans would like for you to believe that they only have two options: get blamed for a partial “shutdown” of DHS or punt the attempt to stop Obama’s executive amnesty to a later date with a short-term bill. However, at this point if liberal Republicans keep funding it one has to ask “at what point does it become a bipartisan amnesty?”

Don’t punt. Republican Leadership should at least have the fortitude to admit they were dishonest with the American people in December. Don’t lie to the American people again and say in a few months time that Republicans will stop the president.

Let’s recap. Leadership claimed in December that by passing the 1,000+ page $1.1 trillion Cromnibus spending bill it would give them the upper hand to stop the president’s executive amnesty. To do this, the Cromnibus would temporarily fund DHS and Obama’s amnesty until February 27. Then the new Congress with a united Republican House and Senate would stop the president’s executive amnesty.

How has that plan worked out?

Congress is a co-equal branch of government. Congress has the power to stop the president’s executive amnesty; it is just a matter of willpower.

Now some Republicans are doing their best to run from their constitutional responsibility and authority to stop the president by outsourcing the conflict to the courts. Let the courts decide. The standard response has become to file a suit against the president and hope the court takes Congress’ side. How well did that work out for Obamacare? Supreme Court Justice John Roberts and the court liberals re-wrote Obamacare in an attempt to make it Constitutional.

Senators Ayotte (R-NH), McCain (R-AZ), and Graham (R-SC) are the latest examples of the “kick it to the court crowd.” They propose Congress fund DHS, and thereby executive amnesty, and then file an amicus brief to the current lawsuit working its way through the appellate courts. The contents of the potential brief will of course argue that the president’s executive order is unconstitutional; however, it will conveniently leave out that Republicans decided to fund said unconstitutional order. Not a winning argument or option.

Congress is a co-equal branch of government. Congress has the power to stop the president’s executive amnesty; it is just a matter of willpower.

Republican Leadership has yet to engage in a full court press on Senate Democrats. Just last week rather than ratchet up pressure on Senate Democrats, the Senate recessed for a week-long vacation. McConnell can force Democrats to hold the floor with a de facto talking filibuster and he and his leadership team can passionately take their case to the American people. Asking, “What is more important funding the Department of Homeland Security or social security numbers for illegal immigrants that one court has already ruled is unconstitutional?”

Moving forward, what does this mean? That Reid and Senate Democrats will have a veto over any good conservative policy that is added to must-pass bills. They simply have to filibuster and obstruct until they have their way.  This is why Speaker Boehner and House Republicans must make it clear that they will not blink when they have the law on their side.

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Emboldened Obama embraces presidential power

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Washington (AFP) - Barack Obama is expected to issue the third and most significant veto of his presidency Tuesday, embracing raw executive power in the twilight of his administration.

"This is even better than the veto pen," said a steely Obama, gripping a silvery hockey stick gifted to him in the midst of another fight with Republicans.

Combative and confident, it is just the sort of defiant tone that Obama has adopted since Republicans seized control of both houses of Congress.

Since last November, Obama has threatened to veto more than a dozen Republican-backed bills -- from tougher sanctions on Iran to rules undercutting his hallmark healthcare reforms.

On Tuesday he is likely to make good on another veto promise, rejecting a bill pushing for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring oil from Canada to the United States.

While flexing his veto power Obama has also embraced the use of controversial executive orders, which bypass hostile legislators to make law by decree.

In one of over 200 orders so far, Obama protected five million illegal immigrants from deportation, leading to a fierce legal challenge from Republicans.

There is a "clear political imperative" for Obama's more muscular use of presidential power, said Julian Zelizer, a Princeton University professor.

"The opposition is strong, time is limited and you can't do much pro-actively.

"It's important for Democrats not to end the last two years (of Obama's term) with Republicans not only controlling Congress, but doing a lot."

- No Franklin Roosevelt -

Yet despite the tough talk, Obama is a relative neophyte when it comes to the ultimate expressions of presidential political power.

Before Keystone, the 44th commander-in-chief used his veto power only twice in six years, to reject rules on notarizations and a defense funding resolution that had become obsolete.

That is fewer vetoes than any president since James Garfield, who was in office in 1881 for 200 days -- close to half of them spent (unsuccessfully) trying to recover from an assassin's bullet.

According to Senate records, you have to go back two centuries -- to the age of the Seminole wars, the first Mississippi steam boats and the presidency of founding father James Monroe -- to find a two-term president who has issued fewer vetoes.

At the same time, Obama has averaged around 33 executive orders a year, the lowest rate since Grover Cleveland's first term ended in 1889, according to the American Presidency Project.

"I think there is genuine hesitance about overreaching," said Zelizer, pointing to Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, when he repeatedly voiced concerns about George W. Bush's use of executive power.

"He also ultimately believed that he would be able to get the legislative process moving. It took him a long time to realize that is not the case."

Obama's low veto tally could also be a sign of his political success.

For most of Obama's time in the Oval Office, Democrats had a strangle hold on Congress.

"In Obama's first two years in office, his party had big majorities in the House and Senate," said Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

"Given how ideologically similar Obama and congressional Democrats are, Congress generally wasn't going to pass something through both houses that was not also supported by the president."

Even until last November Obama had the buffer of a Democrat-controlled Senate, which prevented Republican-backed bills from landing on the Resolute desk.

Minority lawmakers' willingness to use procedural rules to stall legislation may also have helped Obama avoid executive action, according to Sarah Binder of the Brookings Institution.

"I suspect that the minority's increased willingness to filibuster majority party priorities in the Senate also limits the frequency of veto bait sent up to the White House," she said.

With Republicans now in control of both houses, Obama could yet emulate Bush, who vetoed 11 bills in his last two years following the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006.

But even if Obama embarks on a spree of orders and vetoes, he cannot come close to Franklin Roosevelt, a fellow Democrat, who used his veto 635 times and issued over 3,700 executive orders.

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Comment by PHILIP SCHNEIDER on February 24, 2015 at 1:08pm

McConnell HAS to be removed. He and Boehner have been in the leadership positions in congress ever since Obama stepped into OUR WHITE HOUSE.

Everything Obama has ruined happened on the McConnell Boehner watch.

We need NEW LEADERSHIP IN CONGRESS!!!

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