Morning Action: House Lawmakers React to Obama’s Abuse of Authority
ABUSE OF POWER. The House will take up two bills this week designed to make it easier for lawmakers to challenge abuses of presidential authority (sub. req’d):
One bill teed up for floor action (HR 3973), sponsored by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) 88%, would require the Justice Department to inform Congress if the White House decides not to enforce federal law, as well as provide justification for such a decision. Current law requires DOJ to inform Congress only in rare cases where it has deemed a law to be unconstitutional; the new plan also would require an explanation in cases such as Obama’s decision to delay the health care law’s employer mandate.
The other bill (HR 4138), introduced by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) 82%, would allow the House or Senate by a majority vote to authorize a lawsuit against the White House for not enforcing federal law. The bill would provide for expedited consideration of such a lawsuit by a three-judge panel in federal court, with appeals moving directly to the Supreme Court.
SPENDING BILL. It’s predicted cooperation on the spending bill for Labor-HHS-Education will be difficult (sub. req’d):
As appropriators try to build on the accord they reached in the $1.1 trillion omnibus while working on fiscal 2015 spending plans, some observers already are questioning whether the largest nondefense spending bill, Labor-HHS-Education, can be completed as a stand-alone measure in a steeply divided Congress.
“That’s the tripwire,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) 30%, a member of the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee. “I think you can get almost every other bill passed except that one.”
The measure, set at $158 billion in the current fiscal year, is a stark example of the chasm between the parties on social issues. It funds the programs that are anathema for Republicans but bread-and-butter for Democrats, including public broadcasting, labor initiatives and, most prominently, portions of the 2010 health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152).
INCOME INEQUALITY. A new report from a major U.S. union says Obamacare will hasten income inequality:
Although it defends the intent behind the Affordable Care Act, the report, entitled “The Irony of ObamaCare: Making inequality worse,” concludes that the law will transfer a billion dollars in wealth to insurance companies, uneven the playing field in the market, force employers to cut back on hours and result in pay decreases,Ralston Reports said.
“The promise of Obamacare was the right one and the hope for extending healthcare coverage to the un-and under-insured a step in the right direction,” the report says. “Yet the unintended consequences will hit the average, hard-working American where it hurts: in the wallet.”
RUSSIA. A new CNN poll shows 59 percent of Americans approve of sanctions against Russia.
UKRAINE. The Heritage Foundation explains why the U.S. cannot allow Ukraine to be destroyed:
This is a European security crisis which, if mishandled, may make the wars in Yugoslavia seem tame. This is also an hour of truth for the Obama administration.
The West is likely to scale down its positive multi-lateral and bilateral cooperation with Moscow. The United States should stand up to Russia by showing commitment to our NATO allies. We should reassure the Alliance members in Central and Eastern Europe that their defense is guaranteed by deploying assets to the region, and make crystal clear that any armed aggression toward a NATO member will trigger Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which provides for common defense.
MILITARY. The Heritage Foundation explains why it is wrong to shrink the military as much as Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel wants to:
Now, Hagel says, all the U.S. can do is “maybe” one and “maybe” a little more. And, under Hagel, modernizing the military looks more anemic than ever — leaving future security in even graver doubt.
Yet, the secretary assures us this represents good stewardship of our armed forces.
That is hogwash. With a rising China, a restive Russia, a Middle East in meltdown, al Qaeda alive and Iran and North Korea as rogue as ever, he can’t seriously suggest the U.S. will be just fine with a smaller, less capable military. It is like saying we can responsibly cancel our fire insurance, now that there are so many arsonists in the neighborhood.