Calling President Barack Obama’s veto threats “outrageous,” Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) said the administration’s executive actions are geared to winning elections and mock the rule of law.
“This administration suspends and delays laws with no constitutional objections,” DeSantis told TheBlaze. “Just today we learned of a secret delay to the individual mandate. This is madness. You can not have rule of law when people don’t know what the law is.”
The White House announced veto threats Wednesday for two House bills that would curb executive authority – something the president has touted in recent months promising to use his “pen and phone” to enact policy without congressional authorization.
DeSantis sponsored the Faithful Execution of the Law Act of 2014, which would require the attorney general to explain to Congress the reason for each time an executive branch agency unilaterally decides not to enforce a law, be it constitutional or policy grounds.
Under current law, the Justice Department must notify Congress if a law is not going to be enforced because the administration believes it’s not constitutional. The proposed law would require notifying Congress if the administration opts against enforcing a law on constitutional or policy grounds.
The veto threat for the DeSantis bill said reporting requirements are too burdensome.
“The bill would inordinately expand current law, which already requires reports to Congress when non-enforcement of federal law is based on constitutional grounds,” the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) statement said. It added, “The vastly expanded reporting scheme required by the bill would be unduly burdensome and would place the Attorney General in the unprecedented position of having to be kept informed of and report on enforcement decisions made by every other Federal agency.”
His colleague Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) sponsored the Enforce the Law Act, which would allow Congress to take the administration to court if it fails to enforce the law.
The two House bills are scheduled to come up for a vote on Wednesday or Thursday, according to the House calendar.
The OMB said of the Gowdy bill, “violates the separation of powers by purporting to permit the Congress to challenge in court the exercise by the President of one of his core constitutional functions – taking care that Federal laws are faithfully executed.”
The OMB adds, “the power the bill purports to assign to Congress to sue the President over whether he has properly discharged his constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed exceeds constitutional limitations. Congress may not assign such power to itself, nor may it assign to the courts the task of resolving such generalized political disputes.”
DeSantis cited executive actions such as unilateral delays of the Obamacare law, weakening the work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform law and the 2012 deferred action on young illegal immigrants as actions that would have likely have been blocked or delayed if Congress had oversight from his legislation.
“The veto threat is predictable,” DeSantis said. “He has been dismissive of Congress telling him he can’t pick and choose which laws to enforce. He’s in a position now where 90 percent of journalists will not scrutinize him for this.”
Speaking for his bill, he believes it could pass the Senate even if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn’t allow it to be voted on as a stand alone bill.
“If Sen. Reid doesn’t bring it up as a stand alone bill, it could be added as an amendment,” DeSantis said. “I think some Democrats would vote for it. The president would be hard pressed to veto it then.”