Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on Tuesday slammed President Barack Obama’s plan to sign an executive order increasing the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 an hour, calling the plan a “constitutional violation.”
Obama is expected to announce the wage increase, the latest example of the White House bypassing Congress to achieve specific goals, at Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
“I think it’s a constitutional violation,” King said during a CNN interview. “We have a minimum wage. Congress has set it. For the president to simply declare ‘I’m going to change this law that Congress has passed,’ is unconstitutional. He’s outside the bounds of his Article II limitations.”
“This threat that the president is going to run the government with an ink pen and executive orders, we’ve never had a president with that level of audacity and that level of contempt for his own oath of office,” King added.
CNN host Chris Cuomo interjected to note that former President Bill Clinton signed far more executive orders than Obama, adding “if you want to stay with your line of reasoning, it could be a little bit of a dangerous game.”
“How invested are you in this, representative, because if he really is abusing his constitutional powers, some might say that’s ground for action against the president, maybe even an impeachable offense. Is that what you’re saying?” Cuomo continued.
“You know, I’ve stayed away from that word, although it does come to me on the streets of America consistently,” King said. “I think instead, this Congress should lay out the violations that the president has had. And there are many.”
Obama knows better, King added.
“It’s Congress’s job to pass the laws. He knows that. And we need to take our oath seriously and defend the Constitution,” he said.
Meanwhile, as King and others railed against the president’s latest executive order, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough told CBS News that “rather than sit and wait for Congress to take action, we’re going to go ahead and roll out on our own, using the president’s authority.”
“Nobody who works full time and works hard at their job should live in poverty. We think $10.10 an hour will allow them to do that,” he said, adding that the White House will “look to work with Congress where we can, but I think as we’ve seen over the last several years now, Congress sometimes is a little slow to action.”
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