Do Republicans Have a Plan to Respond to Executive Amnesty?

On Tuesday evening, I attended an event at the Heritage Foundation entitled “An Imperial Presidency,” headlined by Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over immigration.

In his speech, Chairman Goodlatte explained that the House of Representatives is suing President Obama over his unilateral actions involving the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) because House leadership believes that they must establish the principle that the President cannot rule by decree as he has been on a number of issues.  The “Take Care” clause in Article II of the Constitution, which empowers the President to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” is a matter of duty, not discretion, Chairman Goodlatte explained.  But the hardest part of the lawsuit will be establishing that a chamber of Congress has the standing to sue at all. The House has passed a bill ensuring that a chamber of Congress would have such standing, the “Enforce the Law Act,” he said.

In the question and answer session following his speech, Chairman Goodlatte said more about the President’s unilateral amnesties specifically, a topic of substantial interest to the audience. He explained that House leadership did give consideration to including the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy in the lawsuit, and that if they establish the principle that the House can sue, it will challenge more unilateral actions, as they need to address immigration as well as the President’s actions on the drug laws.  He also said that he believed that Congress has not utilized the Courts “aggressively” enough, and so separation of powers has become very shaky right now.  The lawsuit the House has already filed is the first step of a “step by step” process to curb executive abuses, he explained, because establishing standing is the first step to ultimately deal with the President’s other abuses. While he did not elaborate how Congress could have been more aggressive, he may have meant that the House should have taken that first step, trying to establish standing through a lawsuit, as soon as the President overstepped his authority.

However, he said, should the President follow up in the near future with additional “major” abuses of power, one of which would be the “dramatic expansion” of unlawful and unilateral amnesties, that would call for an “immediate response.” He suggested that this response might take the form of going to Court and asking for an emergency injunction to stop the unilateral amnesty. He acknowledged, however, that the Courts could drag out the process of hearing until past the end of the President’s term, meaning it would not be an effective way of addressing the issue.  While he mentioned that the “Enforce the Law Act” expedites the legal process to a few months, of course, that bill is not currently law, leaving the prospect of litigation as a way to curb the President’s executive overreach quite murky.

Given the difficulties a lawsuit would present at holding the President accountable, I asked if stopping the President through appropriations and not just a lawsuit is also on the table.  In response, Goodlatte said that the power of the purse is “always” on the table. However, he implied that if one chamber of Congress refuses to use the power of the purse to rein in the Executive branch, it is difficult for the other to do so alone.  If the Republicans should take the Senate, appropriations would therefore be a more likely option for the Republicans to pursue, he hinted.

Chairman Goodlatte also stated that the President’s threat of unilateral actions is what is preventing legislation from happening on immigration: “we all believe in immigration reform,” he said, but when the President claims that he can do it on his own, those who agree with him don’t think they need to enter into negotiations about what needs to be done to enforce the law.

It should be noted that funding for the government will currently run out on December 11, during the lame duck period.  The President has suggested that he will act before the “holidays,” which he could easily stretch to mean as late as December 24. That date would be after Louisiana’s potential runoff election on December 6, and after an appropriations bill is passed, if the lame duck Congress passes one before funding runs out. The question for true immigration reform supporters to ponder is therefore, especially if the Republicans win a majority in the Senate in November, will they pass an appropriations bill funding the government for a year right before the President reveals his hand on what unilateral amnesties he will decree? To do so would remove what leverage they have through the power of the purse until that appropriation expires.  Or will they pass a short term continuing resolution funding the government only until January? Based on this panel, the answer is still undetermined.

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  1. avatar

    As I read through this latest thread, I am reminded yet AGAIN of the narrow political views most Americans have – even when it is to their detriment!! One of the main reasons there has been no credible, MAJOR vocal opposition to Obama’s (and George W’s before him!) policies supporting illegal immigration from Mexico and Latin America is because too many Americans view this issue narrowly through the lenses of Republican vs. Democrat OR White people vs the Others (Colored Folk). As an American Black woman who has voted Democrat most of the time though that has included some Independent candidates as well as Republican candidates (I would have voted for John McCain in 2008 had he not reversed himself on immigration – and NO, I DID NOT vote for Barack – I knew he was a bastard long before he ran for president), I find myself one of MILLIONS of DEMOCRATS who are SICK OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND READY TO VOMIT EACH TIME THEY HEAR THE NAME BARACK OBAMA! We are well aware the Democrats view Hispanics as the great party hope – foolishly ignorant of the fact these people have no interest in being American and will not be voting liberally for long, THEY WILL INSTEAD START THEIR OWN PARTY. As a result, the rest of us are “in the shadows” with a president and an administration who believe Latinos are the only people in this country. However, in my personal experience, when I have tried to reach out to other parties to join forces around our commonalities on these major issues, I am made to feel unwelcome, viewed with mistrust, subject to racist assumptions (and sometimes even slurs) and am expected to “prove myself worthy” rather than have a meaningful, action-oriented discussion about solutions we can employ across party lines to halt the power, lies, and treachery of Obowma and the Hispanic Caucus. This is not a conservative vs. liberal issue. Whether you want to admit it or not, greediness on the part of small to midsized business owners (most of whom identify as Republican) started this nightmare more than 30 years ago by business and labor lobbyists who claimed they needed this labor source because Americans didn’t want to do the work. The liberals later got involved to build up their voting base. Both parties are foolish, unpatriotic, and wholly responsible for the fact that America has now become the puppet of Mexico and is on the verge of losing its sovereignty. Further, there has been no significant outreach by FAIR, NMBRS, or any other major true reform group towards including legal immigrants and making sure Congress hears THEIR stories of hardship while they struggled to obey the laws of this country and learn the language only to find they are below an illegal, illiterate Mexican. They fail to reach out to other non-White Americans who see resources they were told never existed suddenly become available to house, educate, and feed illegals while they remain homeless (or on the verge of), sending their children to dilapidated and underfunded schools, or watching them get shot in the street – something that has yet to happen to an illegal. STOP ALL OF THIS PARTY LINE ********! There are plenty of people in both major parties as well as independents who feel exactly the same way about the president, his amnesty plans, and the continued encroachment of Mexico upon this society. Let’s find a way to unite them all around this issue so the majority voice can finally be heard! If FAIR wants to hire someone, it should be someone working in that capacity to lead email blasts, phone blasts, marches, and social media blasts. I’m available!

    • avatar
      jerseycityjoan on

      GeeWhiz —

      Great post.

      I’m also a frustrated Democrat. I am sorry you haven’t had more success in your attempts with other parties. I appreciate your viewpoint and I hope you keep speaking out, both here and at other places.

  2. avatar

    We are at this critical point in our history because both political parties years ago chose to abandon American workers in order to keep the money flowing to them from those who feed at the trough of cheap labor.

  3. avatar

    Lawyers tend to hire other lawyers, and in this case I don’t think it promotes FAIR’s mission. Julie may be a nice person and a competent (albeit youthful) lawyer, but what exactly is her experience with immigration? I don’t think being in Hanover NH (Dartmouth) is an example of being ‘in the trenches’ with (legal and/or illegal) immigration.

    With respect, I think FAIR should be hiring people with more personal experience on this issue – those from border states primarily affected, such as CA. Anyone living in LA, SF, San Diego, etc. has a more solid grasp on a day to day basis of the personal impact illegal immigration has on US citizens. And they don’t need to be lawyers.

    I would also like to see FAIR be harder on its own brethren – the legal profession which has been aiding illegals in numerous ways for the past 30+ years. Here in the great state (yes, this is sarcasm…) of California, the state government recently passed a law allowing illegals to legally become lawyers (as well as other professions). Can you say ‘irony’…? What does FAIR think of this, and how is it addressing the fact that most lawyers in the country probably agree with this absurd ruling.

    There are about 1 million lawyers in the US – one for every 300 people. FAIR focuses on cowardly politicos who have done nothing to help – and everything to hurt – the US with regard to illegals over the past 30 years. Maybe it’s time to also focus on those lawyers who actively promote the illegal(s) agenda – all for billable hours of course.

    • avatar

      Perhaps you should read a little and then comment. FAIR has repeatedly said illegals should not be allowed to become lawyers.

    • avatar

      While I am no fan of most of our politicians in Washington, I do think that FAIR needs good lawyers like Julie in order to effectively accomplish things in Washington. Because like it or not, Washington politicians are the ones who are in charge of writing and enforcing (or not enforcing) our immigration laws.

    • avatar
      John Winthrop on

      Tom…….usually we have more intellectual and knowledgeable than yourself…….so do not worry…….u should become more literate about our immigration issues and political situation then you will enjoy Julie’s comment………..

      REMEMBER FREEDOM OF SPEECH…………?…the same respect for other porfessional’s opinion….so I gathered you lack of education…….

  4. avatar

    That’s a very important question. I fear that an indecisive and divided GOP won’t respond with 1 strong oppositional voice to whatever amnesty decree Emperor Obama will fire off–“after the November elections”, as he himself remarked without embarrassment to the Hispanic caucus last night).

    Can’t understand for the life of me why anyone in Republican leadership think it a good idea to support any kind of “amnesty” or even a “compromise” with the liberals on “immigration reform” (read; amnesty). The only results this would have would be serious perhaps fatal alienation of the Republican base and probably not 1 moreG vote from any Hispanics, extremely unlikely to jump over to the GOP after 95% historically have voted Democrat (what i think the whole amnesty issue is about for the Dems).

    AnyRepublican who believes otherwise has just been drinking the Dens’ Kool-Aid, which asserts that the lack of support for amnesty is why the Republicans lost the last election. Unfortunately there is absolutely NO evidence this is true, and really just represents a clever liberal tactic to convince Republicans to vote for the illegals.

  5. avatar
    kurt thialfad on

    Not to mention the final controversial Executive Orders on a President’s last day in office. Only then do they show their true colors – the bastards!

    • avatar

      If Congress wants to Take care of this impostor, try getting all the information available about his birth records, college trans-scripts. I believe either he does not have a degree (never went to college) or his records will show he went to college as a foreign student. Time to get rid of this POS.

      • avatar

        I’m thinking it is likely that he paid a practicing attorney to sit his bar exam for him.

      • avatar
        John Winthrop on

        Frank your ignorance, disrespect and petulance is abominable…………………….

  6. avatar

    The House has to dig in. Whether it includes lame ducks or not. Every dime that is left in Republican coffers should then be spent countering the media’s lies about the effect of the governmental shutdown and who is causing it. It takes two parties or at least groups to cause a shutdown. But, the media has always characterized it as “conservative intransigence”. The last time the Republican’s won one was against Clinton’s policies. Yes, the conservatives won. It kept Clinton from doing some of the crap Obama has done and made the Clinton years good years for this country. It was also good for conservative principles. It demonstrated that when properly explained they win and they work. This happened despite the media claiming that they don’t and did not.

  7. avatar
    Donald Shnyder on

    I think that in january the changing of the (guard) congress we will see the other (shoe) drop. right now all of congress is quivering in anticepation as to their future employment and retirement pay. with a ground swell of replacement of congress time will tell. It will take severale election cycles to rid us of the Corupt scavengers we now have in office on both parties, but it will be done. Even as we speak some States are cutting the free welfare role, this means the bloodsukers must work or starve or steal. Voter ID is an absolute must to get our country back on track. The days of the UNION’S is all but over now.

  8. avatar

    Do (A) Iraq casualty count of dead and captured by ISIS and because Obama did not stop ISIS.
    See if Obama ought be fired.
    Do (B) victims of Obama and Obama’s illegals spread of EV D68 in America, counting: number dead, hospitalized, paralyzed, permanently paralyzed,
    Note there may be a large number who went to hospital diagnosed with identifiable sickness where EV D68 is a complication or cause that is not identified as EV D68 is difficult to identify.
    See if Obama ought be fired.
    See if Obama ought be fired for inflicting both (A) and (B) above.
    See if (C) Obama tries to overwrought this nation by executive order giving executive amnesty to any large number of illegals.
    See if Obama ought be fired for inflicting (A), (B) and (C) above.
    Also, Obama’s extra-extraordinary lack of due care in the above demonstrated Obama’s decision when facts are known.

  9. avatar

    Excellent summary and analysis, Julie. Maybe the best option for stopping the executive amnesty is for the Republicans to refuse to vote for the next CR if it does not prohibit the use of funds for the executive amnesty. If the Democrats refuse to vote for the CR if it does prohibit such use, then so be it: The public would discover which party is willing to shut down our government rather than stop a president from breaking the law. Furthermore, it would defer the decision to the new Congress, where it rightly belongs anyway. If the Republicans take control of the Senate on January 3, then they can pass the CR with the prohibition. If they haven’t, they can either extend the shutdown, if the public is on their side, or pass the CR without the prohibition and have the House file for an injunction as described by Goodlatte.

  10. avatar

    This concept that once a servant misinterprets (twists/applies) our inherent inviolate laws against us, and we then have to prove them wrong is moronic at best.

    Our superior laws must be loosely (not strictly) interpreted in our favor at every turn. So if servants want to challenge, they first have to be successful with SCOTUS, not the other way around.

    • avatar

      Sorry Jeff G. But, it is a loose interpretation of the Constitution, which, is the most “superior law’ of the land that has gotten us into trouble. Once the Congress, the President, and or the Court(s) decided that the “Common Welfare” could mean government benefits, regulations, or policies could be tailored and enforced for the benefit of individuals, groups, companies, states and industries the government began to increase in power. Take benefits tailored to the oil industry supposedly to increase their ability to produce abundant energy at affordable prices. Sounds like a good idea, right? Well the coal industry and the rail industry decide they need legal because the aid to oil is unfair. So they all hire teams of lobbyists, contribute to candidates, buy ad time, etc. This has happened with every special interest, large “minority block”, regions of the country, etc.

      These conditions are what has taken the discussion of individual rights and responsibilities out of politics and rendered the individual voter mute. They also increase the power, scope, and cost of government

    • avatar
      John Winthrop on

      Jeff Gaul I think you were born in the wrong country……US……..your terminology belongs to the old country…..go back to where you fit a servant……

  11. avatar

    There are three options for dealing with any amnesty: 1) legislation, which the article says could easily not be adjudicated until after Obama leaves office; 2) funding, which even with a Republican-controlled Senate can be negated by the Feds simply moving money around amongst various departments; and 3) impeachment, which takes 60 votes to convict, a tough nut to crack as it would require some Democratic votes.
    Given these obstacles, I could see an armed insurrection should Obama proceed with any non-enforcement amnesty. These are not happy times in the Good Ol’ US of A.

  12. avatar

    It astounds me how people in high office shave the constitution of its principles. The house can pass a bill to sue the POTUS and pass the buck, so to speak, to the judiciary to “balance” the corruption in the WH, when it is the job of the House to pass a bill that contains a list of errors or wrongs done by the executive branch. This has the “scary” terminology, namely, impeachment. But, Oh! No! we can’t do THAT because the Senate might let the administration off the hook by not condemning the wrong behavior of individuals at all the various levels of the regime. The accountability that was designed into the constitution has broken down because of collusion between the so-called independent branches of the government. Why should the House care whether the Senate is or is not ethical or correct? This is buddy-buddy back room politics. It is not as if we don’t know who the players are. Every member has a voting record, well documented and public. If you REALLY care about how the government is run, you will get out and vote for good, ethical, wise statesmen and women that will do the RIGHT thing even when not always politically correct. I don’t know that coffee latte will do the trick or not.

  13. avatar

    Under “take care the laws be faithfully executed” doesn’t seem to apply to Obola’s dismanteling of immigration laws or his willful threat of executive action to deliberately circumvent the law.

    • avatar

      We clearly need a constitutional amendment to deal with a president who refuses to enforce the law. We need to change the method for removing a president. Impeachment clearly does not work. We need to go to a recall procedure similar to that for state governors.

      Not only that but the constitution designates that the state legislatures have the authority to determine how its electoral college delegates are chosen. The red state legislatures already have the authority to choose their delegates if they so choose. If they were to do so then a Republican will win the White House.

  14. avatar

    The “Key Stone Cops, unlike the Liberal Elite, (barry nancy harry……) had noble intentions.

  15. avatar

    I’ve come up with a logo to be put on our southern border. A pair of hands – one holding a stop sign, like school crossing guards use. The other, a hand motioning illegals to come in and listing all the benefits when they receive when they break our laws. A dichotomy? Sure. But that’s exactly how we appear to the world…especially the third worlds who are now populating our country.

  16. avatar

    I haven’t seen nor heard a plan the Republicans have for anything we are facing today. If they have one, is it very closely guarded and invisible to the citizens of this country. There are a handful of GOP (conservative) leaders in Congress who are working as hard as they can and standing courageously for us and our country and the rest of them are scared of their shadow. Until we provide true conservative leadership in both Houses of Congress, this nation will continue on the path to destruction. Get out and vote in November and remember what the consequences will be if you vote for the left. It won’t just continue until we are destroyed, it will get much worse if we don’t stop it and NOW!!!

  17. avatar

    Our Politicians Remind Me of the Old Key Stone Cops

    Running haphazardly all over the place with no set direction except more debt, no clear direction and lack of control.

    • avatar
      John Winthrop on

      Just like you………..what would happen if you had no job….you would starve………why?…because you have no ingenuity genes……all talk……..