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Martha R.
Republican AL 2

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  • Employer Mandate Under the Affordable Care Act

    by Representative Martha Roby

    Posted on 2014-01-09

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    ROBY. Thank you so much to my colleague from South Carolina. I just want to tell you that, as I travel throughout Alabama's Second District, the question I get over and over and over again is: What can we do about this executive overreach? So I rise, Mr. Speaker, today on behalf of the people of Alabama's Second Congressional District to lend my support to Mr. Rice's S.T.O.P. Resolution in order to stop this overreaching Presidency. I appreciate so much the diligent and thorough work of my colleague's on this resolution, and I am proud to sign on as a cosponsor.

    In advancing this resolution, we are seeking to finally stop constitutional overreaches by the executive branch and restore the separation of powers by bringing legal action against the Obama administration to compel the judiciary to rein it in. This resolution directs a civil action on behalf of the House of Representatives in Federal court in the District of Columbia, challenging four unilateral Obama administration actions, as have already been explained, that blatantly flout constitutional restraints on the executive branch. I am going to mention them again: Specifically, these include the lifting of the Affordable Care Act's mandated requirements on the type of insurance providers can offer; the 1-year delay of the health care law's employer mandate; the adoption of a policy against deporting certain illegal immigrants, which is counter to U.S. immigration and naturalization laws; and the decision to waive the ``welfare to work'' laws.

    [[Page H115]] Mr. Speaker, the Obama administration is certainly not the first administration to overstep its constitutional authority as, I would say, most Presidents in recent history have pushed the limits of executive power, but the actions taken in the last few years have been especially blatant and egregious. President Obama and his administration have recklessly stretched the scope of the executive branch, aggressively imposing by administrative rule or regulation what they can't achieve legislatively. When I am at home and am talking with my constituents about this, we talk particularly about the promulgation of rules. It is just a backdoor attempt to get done what the President can't get done here in the Congress.

    Amazingly, in some cases, the administration has moved to delay, tweak or to otherwise alter the very health care law he pushed to enact, all while dismissing legislative proposals that would have had the same effect but would have had the benefit of being legal because they would have gone through the Halls of Congress. If allowed to stand unchecked, such actions present a dangerous threat to our constitutional separation of powers.

    Mr. Speaker, I wish this weren't necessary. I wish President Obama and his administration had the self-restraint to act within their constitutional bounds, but this administration's pattern of aggressively overstepping its authorities to implement policy and win political battles leaves us no choice to act. Our constitutional restraints on government are not always convenient for political or policy goals, but they are necessary for preserving the checks and balances that ensure this government still derives its authority from the people and not the other way around.

    We know that working through the courts can take time, but the judicial branch has shown a greater willingness as of late to rein in these overreaches from the Obama administration. Two recent decisions that are worth noting have already struck down the Obama administration's attempts to flout the law and act outside of the constitutionally prescribed role of the executive branch.

    One was the lower court's ruling overturning the President's attempt to appoint NLRB members without Senate approval, and the other was a rare mandamus order from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that rejected the administration's attempt to simply not enforce laws related to Yucca Mountain and nuclear waste.

    Mr. Speaker, this S.T.O.P. Resolution allows the House of Representatives to seek the intervention of the judicial branch to rein in these executive abuses and reconstitute the separation of power. I hope it also sends a message to the Obama administration that this body, as one half of a coequal branch of the United States Government, is not going to stand by and watch the erosion of this country's constitutional framework.

    Again, a sincere thank you to my colleague from South Carolina for taking the lead on this, for showing leadership. I am proud to be able to state to the people of Alabama's Second District, when asked ``What are you doing about this?,'' that this S.T.O.P. Resolution is a step in the right direction. So thank you very much.

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