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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) updated his report on the “imperial presidency” on Thursday, adding to the dozens of examples of executive overreach by the Obama administration.
"Our Founders created a series of checks and balances for our democracy to prevent any one of the three branches of government from becoming too powerful,” Cantor said. “Today, this system is under threat as the executive branch continues to bypass Congress and use executive action to promote its own agenda.”
Cantor says Obamacare is the greatest example of the administration’s “blatant disregard for the rule of law.”
The updated report cites 24 instances where the administration delayed or changed the implementation of Obamacare, which were documented by the Washington Post.
Cantor calls the law a “2,000-plus page behemoth that contained hundreds of prescriptive mandates and hard deadlines,” which he says the administration is ignoring. The list includes delays of the employer mandate, subsidy verification requirements, insurance deadlines, and two extensions that let states continue to use high-risk pools.
Most recently, the report notes a second extension, announced on March 5, to allow individuals to keep their so-called “substandard” health insurance plans that do not comply with Obamacare until October 2017.
“At a time when the law is creating more uncertainty for working families and for our economy, the president continues to circumvent Congress and issue delays to parts of the law,” Cantor said. “Not only are these delays unilateral, but they are oftentimes put forth in a way that is not apparent to the American people, buried on holiday weekends, late evenings, and even entirely behind closed doors as we saw last week.”
“The American people deserve better,” he said.
The report also updates executive actions in the area of immigration.
Aside from the “Deferred Action” program, which allows young illegal immigrants to gain legal status, the administration continued to alter immigration enforcement laws in 2013.
Cantor noted a directive in August that ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials “not to enforce immigration laws in cases in which the illegal immigrant is the primary provider for a minor child, regardless of the child's immigration status.”
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced in November that illegal alien family members of servicemen and women could receive “parole-in-place” status.
“Notably, the parole statute, the regulations, and the legislative history do not seem to contemplate parole for: (1) aliens who are already in the United States illegally, (2) an entire category of people, or (3) an indefinite period of time,” the report notes. “Extending parole in place in this manner is a re-write of the law.”
Cantor’s first report, released in October 2012, cited more than 40 examples, including lesser-known administrative actions such as a refusal to enforce the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and rewriting bankruptcy law.
To combat the unilateral moves, House Republicans passed two bills this week, including the “Enforce the Law Act,” legislation that would expedite the process for Congress to sue the administration for not enforcing laws.
The House also passed the “Faithful Execution of the Law” Act, which would require the administration to notify Congress whenever it “implements a formal or informal policy to not enforce a provision of law.”
"The president's blatant disregard for Congress is causing confusion, harming families, and continuing us on a path farther and farther from the rule of law and balance of powers contained in our Constitution,” Cantor said. “The House will continue to conduct oversight to protect the American people from executive over-reach and return our country to a government that functions as it should within the framework of our Constitution."