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Ron D.
Republican FL 6

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  • Employer Mandate Under the Affordable Care Act

    by Representative Ron DeSantis

    Posted on 2014-01-09

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    Congressional Record, Volume 160 Issue 5 (Thursday, January 9, 2014)

    [Congressional Record Volume 160, Number 5 (Thursday, January 9, 2014)]
    [House]
    [Pages H114-H118]
    From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
    
    
    
    
                 EMPLOYER MANDATE UNDER THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
    
      The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Barr). Under the Speaker's announced 
    policy of January 3, 2013, the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Rice) 
    is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
    
    
                                 General Leave
    
      Mr. RICE of South Carolina. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that 
    all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend 
    their remarks and to include extraneous materials on the topic of my 
    Special Order.
      The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
    gentleman from South Carolina?
      There was no objection.
      Mr. RICE of South Carolina. Mr. Speaker, back last summer when the 
    President unilaterally announced that he was going to not enforce the 
    employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act, I was quite surprised 
    because the next day there was a news article in The New York Times 
    about it. Democratic Senator Tom Harkin was quoted in the article. He 
    was one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act. He said, speaking 
    of the President: This was the law. How can he do that? How can the 
    President simply unilaterally choose to ignore the law?
      Our Founders, Mr. Speaker, designed a system of government based upon 
    a separation of powers. The legislative branch enacts the laws and the 
    executive branch, the President, enforces those laws. They did that to 
    protect our very, very fragile freedom. We cannot allow those 
    separations to be eroded. One man who can both make the laws and 
    enforce the laws is more a monarch than a President.
      Article II, section 3 of the Constitution requires, in part, that the 
    President take care to faithfully execute the Nation's laws. In 1792, 
    when George Washington was faced with enforcing an unpopular whiskey 
    tax, he wrote in a letter that:
    
           It is my duty to see that these laws are executed. To 
         permit them to be trampled upon with impunity would be 
         repugnant to that duty.
    
      President Obama, on the other hand, has, throughout his 
    administration, picked and chosen which laws or parts thereof he wishes 
    to enforce. House Resolution 442 would require the House of 
    Representatives to institute a lawsuit against the President to comply 
    with this article II, section 3 of the Constitution. It lists four 
    specific examples where the President has either failed to enforce the 
    laws or has gone beyond the laws as written:
      One is the 1-year delay in the employer mandate under ObamaCare, 
    which I mentioned earlier;
      Another is the 1-year extension of the substandard insurance 
    policies, which by my definition is any insurance policy anybody would 
    really want to buy;
      One is the waiving of the work requirements under the welfare laws; 
    and
      One is the granting of deferred removal action to illegal aliens.
      Again, one man empowered to both enact the laws and enforce the laws 
    is more a monarch than a President. This is not a Republican issue. 
    This is not a Democrat issue. It is not a Tea Party action. This is not 
    for messaging. H.R. 442 merely recognizes that no American, including 
    the President, is above the law.
      What would we say if the next President came in and said, I don't 
    like the Affordable Care Act and, therefore, I am not going to enforce 
    the individual mandate, which would gut the law? What would we say if 
    President Obama or any other President said, I think the top income tax 
    rate is too high and, therefore, I am not going to enforce it, or I am 
    not going to enforce the lowest income tax rate? What is the difference 
    between those situations and what President Obama is doing right now 
    not enforcing the employer mandate under ObamaCare? After all, the 
    Supreme Court has ruled that the penalties under ObamaCare are a tax.
      What would we say if a President said, I am not going to enforce this 
    tax against my friends but I will against my enemies, or I am not going 
    to enforce it against my contributors but I will against everybody 
    else? What is the difference between that situation and what the 
    President has done granting 1,300 unilateral exemptions to different 
    groups under the Affordable Care Act?
      If the President is allowed to make the law or to ignore those laws 
    passed by Congress, Congress can just go home; there is no need for the 
    legislative branch. In fact, when Congress, following the President's 
    lead, when the House of Representatives passed a bill that would delay 
    the employer mandate for a year, which the President had already 
    announced he was going to do unilaterally, the President threatened to 
    veto it.
    
                                  {time}  1700
    
      At this time, I yield to Representative Martha Roby from Alabama.
      Mrs. 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.
      Mr. RICE of South Carolina. Thank you, Mrs. Roby.
      I yield to my friend and colleague from Utah (Mr. Stewart).
      Mr. STEWART. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend and colleague Tom 
    Rice for introducing this important resolution. I am proud to stand in 
    support of this, and I thank him for giving me a few minutes to discuss 
    what is a very, very important issue today.
      My friend knows that I was a writer. Before I came to Congress, I 
    wrote a number of books. I spent a lot of time writing about and 
    studying this great Nation--about the history of this Nation, about the 
    history of the world--and I think I know a little bit about some of 
    these things. I think one of the most remarkable but underappreciated 
    characteristics of General George Washington, who was, I think, a hero 
    for many of us, was his deference to the Continental Congress during 
    the American Revolution. Although in many cases he knew what needed to 
    be done, he always recognized that he derived his authority--he derived 
    all of his power--not from himself but from the Congress, and he 
    understood that the Congress was the organization and the body that 
    held the power and the keys to a successful government.
      It is a lesson, as we have been discussing here tonight, that, 
    unfortunately, this President does not seem to appreciate or to even 
    understand.
      Our Founding Fathers made it very clear in the Constitution that the 
    responsibility of the President was to take care that the laws be 
    faithfully executed--not selectively chosen, not preferred or some of 
    them ignored, but faithfully executed. It is his constitutional 
    responsibility, but time and time again, we have seen this President as 
    he ignores this constitutionally mandated responsibility. He prefers to 
    pick and to choose which laws he will enforce.
      I would like to quote eminent Judge Michael McConnell, who recently 
    wrote:
    
           The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which 
         advises the President on legal and constitutional issues, has 
         repeatedly opined that the President may decline to enforce 
         laws he believes are unconstitutional, but these opinions 
         have always insisted that the President has no authority to 
         refuse to enforce a statute which he simply opposes for 
         policy reasons.
    
      This has become a very troubling trend for this President. As my 
    friend has already pointed out, among other examples, he has already 
    declined to enforce immigration laws against a large number of illegal 
    immigrants. He has chosen not to enforce work requirements that 
    Congress mandated as part of the 1990 welfare reform programs, programs 
    which had broad bipartisan support and which everyone recognizes were 
    very successful. He has chosen to change the congressional requirements 
    that States must meet under No Child Left Behind, and in none of these 
    cases did he say he believed the laws were unconstitutional. He simply 
    disagreed with the policies and so refused to enforce those laws. Now, 
    we may or may not agree with the President on the merits of these 
    policies, but as an institution, Congress should be extraordinarily 
    concerned that the President is usurping our role as legislators, and 
    it is setting a very dangerous precedent.
    
      The President, for example, went to great lengths to convince the 
    Supreme Court and other Americans that the Affordable Care Act was, 
    indeed, constitutional. He won that battle, which means he should have 
    to enforce this law that he argued was constitutional or, if not, come 
    to Congress and ask for changes to the law, but over the last few 
    months, we have seen numerous delays and exemptions to ObamaCare 
    without any input at all from Congress. Now, once again, regardless of 
    your views on the merits of ObamaCare, the President's actions should 
    make everyone who respects the separation of power and the role of the 
    executive very uncomfortable.
      Can you imagine if Governor Romney had been elected President and if, 
    on his first day in office, he had said, ``I am going to delay the 
    employer mandate''? Do you think any of my colleagues from across the 
    aisle would have supported him in that? Imagine if he had said, again 
    as was illustrated before, ``I think that the capital gains tax is too 
    high. To get our economy going, I am just not going to enforce the 
    capital gains tax for a year.'' I mean, if he had done that, heads 
    would have exploded all over Washington, DC.
      Why would that have happened? He doesn't have the authority. The 
    Constitution forbids it. We have a President, not a king. I don't want 
    this President to act that way. I don't want a Republican President to 
    act that way. Our Founding Fathers would be horrified if they were 
    alive today and were watching what is happening with our Constitution 
    and the growing power of the Presidency. This is dangerous, and it is 
    demeaning to our democracy, and it simply must stop. I hope the 
    President will remember his constitutionally mandated responsibility to 
    enforce all laws, not just those laws that he chooses to enforce 
    because he agrees with them.
      Mr. Rice, thank you, sir, for drawing attention to this very 
    important issue. Thank you for giving me a few moments to share this 
    with you here on the floor of the Congress.
      Mr. RICE of South Carolina. Thank you, Mr. Stewart.
      I yield to my friend from Georgia (Mr. Woodall).
    
    [[Page H116]]
    
      Mr. WOODALL. I thank my friend from South Carolina. I appreciate his 
    making this time available.
      Mr. Speaker, truth be told, this is a leadership hour, so it tends to 
    be Republicans down on the floor when it is a Republican leadership 
    hour, and it tends to be Democrats down on the floor when it is a 
    Democrat leadership hour, but as my friend Mr. Stewart said so well: 
    this is not a Republican problem. This is not a President Barack Obama 
    problem. This is a ``we, the people'' problem.
      The concern is not that it is President Barack Obama who is saying 
    the Affordable Care Act doesn't have to be enforced. The concern is 
    that any President could say that any law doesn't have to be enforced. 
    Thomas Jefferson said you are not likely to lose your freedoms through 
    rebellion; you are likely to lose them little by little by little by 
    little. That is why we all have to stand up together.
      Mr. Rice is a freshman from South Carolina. I have only been here for 
    two terms myself. I think about some of the giants of this institution, 
    not just of the House but of the Senate as well. I think about one of 
    my favorite Democratic Senators, Robert Byrd from West Virginia--a 
    champion of article I of the Constitution. He was a Democrat second; he 
    was an American first, defending the Constitution against Presidents, 
    Republican and Democrat, who would take the people's power from Capitol 
    Hill and take it down to the executive branch.
      So I want to ask you now--and it may sound frivolous--if we had 
    President Mitt Romney in the White House today and if Mitt Romney were 
    deciding the Affordable Care Act did not need to be enforced, would you 
    still be here on the floor, asking that Congress go to court to reclaim 
    congressional powers? I ask my friend.
      Mr. RICE of South Carolina. As you said, Representative Woodall, I am 
    an American first and a Republican second, and if the President usurps 
    the Constitution, I will call him to task.
      Mr. WOODALL. I confess to you that I went on the Oversight and 
    Government Reform Committee--as all of my colleagues know, the 
    Oversight and Government Reform Committee is responsible for doing all 
    of the oversight over the executive branch--because I was certain Mitt 
    Romney was going to win. I said, for far too long, power has been 
    leaving the people's hands on Capitol Hill, gravitating down 
    Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, and we in a Republican House 
    will be able to do oversight over a Republican President and show the 
    American people it is not about Republicans and Democrats; it is about 
    article I and article II and about following the process, following the 
    law, following the Constitution. It matters. It doesn't matter when 
    times are good. It matters when things get dicey, when you begin to 
    lose those freedoms little by little.
    
                                  {time}  1715
    
      I want to ask my friend from South Carolina, because we went through 
    this with recess appointments, whether or not there was the ability for 
    the President to appoint folks of his choosing to various positions 
    around the city. And what I read that D.C. court opinion to say is what 
    President Obama has done is absolutely outrageous. It cannot possibly 
    stand.
      But what Congress allowed President Bush to do and President Clinton 
    to do and President Bush before him to do and President Reagan before 
    him to do, that was also unconstitutional; and Congress has to step up 
    for the powers of the Constitution entrusted in us.
      Is this your understanding?
      Mr. RICE of South Carolina. Representative Woodall, that is exactly 
    what this resolution is intended to do. It is intended for Congress to 
    take action to enforce the Constitution.
      Representative Woodall, do you hear from your constituents back home 
    when you speak to them that the President is breaking the law, and why 
    don't you do something about that?
      I do all the time. I think that is a result of the erosion of 
    Congress' power--exactly what you are talking about.
      Mr. WOODALL. We should absolutely have arguments on this floor about 
    how much money should be spent on this program versus that program, 
    whether or not we should authorize a new issue or do away with an old 
    issue. Those are those things that divide us.
      But we should be united, Republican, Democrat, House and Senate, over 
    these constitutional issues of where does the people's power reside. 
    Because if leaders like you, in the absence of Senator Byrd from West 
    Virginia, in the absence of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, in the absence of 
    some of those greats who formerly preserved the people's power, I don't 
    know how it gets preserved.
      I am certain that you face slings and arrows from folks thinking this 
    is some sort of partisan stunt: you just don't like this President; you 
    just have sour grapes over the last election.
      I have gotten to know you well over your very short time in Congress. 
    It is so valuable to me that you put your responsibilities as an 
    American first--far above your responsibilities as a Republican--and 
    that despite those slings and arrows, the Constitution comes first. It 
    may not seem like we need the Constitution to protect us each and every 
    day; but when we wake up and realize it is not there, it is going to be 
    too late.
      I hope this is something that spreads in a bipartisan way and in a 
    bicameral way. We have preserved this Republic, this greatest form of 
    government the world has ever known, only because folks have stood up 
    when others did not see that necessity.
      We need this. There is the necessity today, and I am grateful to you 
    for your leadership.
      Mr. RICE of South Carolina. Thank you, my friend.
      I yield to my friend from Florida (Mr. Yoho).
      Mr. YOHO. I thank my good friend from South Carolina (Mr. Rice), for 
    bringing this resolution forward and for his leadership. This is a very 
    important issue not only today, but as Mr. Woodall pointed out here, 
    also for the future of our Nation--a constitutional Republic, as you so 
    eloquently put it.
      Article II, section 3 of the Constitution specifically requires that 
    the President:
    
           Take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
    
      This does not allow the President to enforce the laws he likes and 
    ignore the laws he doesn't. This clause compels the President to ensure 
    that all agencies within his executive branch are carrying out the laws 
    created by Congress, the people's arm of government.
      The current administration undermines this body on a near daily 
    basis; and if it is allowed to continue to do so, as you pointed out, 
    the balance of power will no longer exist. In fact, it is rapidly 
    slipping away to one side of the balance scales. It is our duty as 
    representatives of the American people to speak out about this. And if 
    not us, who? And if not now, when?
      The delay of the employer mandate, the extension of the substandard 
    insurance policies, and the grant of the deferred removal action to 
    certain illegal immigrants are just but a few examples of the executive 
    attempting to legislate without Congress.
      Luckily, the Framers instituted a system of checks and balances. This 
    Congress has no choice but to turn to the courts. I offer my strong 
    support for Congressman Rice's STOP resolution, H.R. 442, which will 
    enable the House to bring a civil action against the executive branch 
    and allow future legislators to hold the executive branch accountable.
      I think this is the crux of this and this is the important part of 
    this. Because it is for all future Presidents. Again, we have to stand 
    up and start defending our Constitution.
      This administration, like others before it, has no problem creating 
    mandates for the American people, but cannot seem to follow the most 
    important mandate of our Nation: the Constitution.
      If you look at this, this simple little book, it is not an epic in 
    volume. You can see it. It is very thin. But yet it is an epic in 
    ideology of what free men and free women can do, and they are held 
    accountable with their government by this little red book.
      The importance of this issue cannot be overstated. We must address 
    this now so that all future Presidents will know that they must abide 
    by the Constitution. No President, past or present, Democrat or 
    Republican, should ever be exempt from the duties laid out by our 
    Founding Fathers.
      That is why I support Congressman Rice's STOP resolution, H.R. 442, 
    and I
    
    [[Page H117]]
    
    urge all my colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats, to support this 
    resolution for America and for our Constitution.
      Mr. RICE of South Carolina. Thank you, Mr. Yoho.
      I yield to my friend from Florida (Mr. DeSantis).
      Mr. DeSANTIS. I thank the gentleman from South Carolina.
      When we left in December to go back to our districts for the 
    Christmas weekend, I got home and thought, Okay, the President is going 
    to do something with ObamaCare as we get close to Christmas. You just 
    know anytime you come up on a holiday, some news gets put out. July 3, 
    leading into the 4th of July, was the employer mandate delay. The 
    grandfather stunt was pulled leading into Thanksgiving.
      And sure enough, December 19, the Obama administration grants a 
    ``hardship exemption'' from the individual mandate tax penalty to those 
    who have seen their plans canceled due to ObamaCare.
      I don't think any of those plans should have been canceled. I offered 
    a bill here, and the House passed something similar, to essentially 
    grandfather in those plans. The Federal Government shouldn't be forcing 
    people out of plans they like. Certainly, things needed to be done 
    there.
      But understand how unfair this is. If you had insurance and your 
    policy is canceled, and then the ObamaCare replacements are not 
    affordable for you, they are saying, Okay, you are fine. No penalty for 
    you. But if you are somebody who couldn't have afforded insurance the 
    prior year, and now you are told you are forced to go on these 
    ObamaCare exchanges, you still have to pay the tax, even though you may 
    have been worse off than some of those other folks.
    
      Or if you are somebody that had employer coverage last year, and now 
    maybe going out on your own and you need to buy individual insurance, 
    if you end up in the exchanges and you don't find those affordable to 
    you, you don't get the same relief.
      When you are talking about arbitrary delays like this, it is 
    inherently unfair.
      Now, give the administration some credit. Unlike some of the other 
    delays, there is actually a provision in ObamaCare that says people can 
    qualify for a hardship exemption from the individual mandate. The 
    problem is that in this instance it is ObamaCare itself that 
    constitutes the hardship.
      So because ObamaCare is implemented, these people are suffering a 
    hardship. Therefore they are exempt from the statute. To me, I think 
    that is an abuse of what the statute is supposed to do. Certainly, it 
    begs the question, Could you simply delay or grant a suspension of all 
    of these provisions of ObamaCare?
      It is interesting because I was reading in the Weekly Standard 
    publication, one of the reporters was asking members of the Senate what 
    are their limits, what is the principled justification for his conduct.
      And so the reporter asked one Senator:
    
           How do you determine if the President couldn't do something 
         that it does exceed his authority? Are there any parts of the 
         law that the President does not have the authority to delay 
         or suspend?
    
      The Senator's response--a Democratic Senator:
    
           I don't know. I'm not the scholar on that.
    
      Well, the reporter went to another Democratic Senator and said:
    
           Are there are any delays the President wouldn't have the 
         authority to make? Could the President potentially suspend 
         the entire law if he wanted to?
    
      His answer:
    
           I can't answer a hypothetical.
    
      The reporter asked again:
    
           So you can't say if there are any parts of the law he 
         couldn't delay unilaterally?
    
      The Senator said:
    
           I can't answer a hypothetical.
    
      Finally, another Senator told the reporter he doesn't know of any 
    legal impediment preventing the executive branch from delaying the 
    employer or individual mandates.
      When asked:
    
           Couldn't a future President just simply come in and suspend 
         the entire law?
    
      That Senator said:
    
           I don't want to speculate what a future President might do.
    
      And so I think those answers, when Senators and the President's own 
    party cannot offer any principled justification for the President's 
    conduct that would exclude the potential of a President simply delaying 
    all provisions of the law, you know that you are not in the realm of 
    faithful execution of the law.
      I think it is a challenge. We have talked about it in this Chamber in 
    hours like this. We have had hearings in the Judiciary Committee with 
    experts--even liberal constitutional law experts--saying that this 
    conduct goes beyond what the Founding Fathers intended and what the 
    Constitution envisioned.
      I would like to see somebody offer a principled justification for the 
    President picking and choosing which parts of the law should be 
    enforced and should not be enforced, should be delayed, should be 
    suspended, or should be ignored.
      It is interesting, because when you go back and look at the Founding 
    Fathers when they created the Constitution, when they created the 
    Congress, when they created the executive, at the convention James 
    Wilson from Pennsylvania was the one who moved to create a President 
    consisting of a single person. And that caused silence in the 
    convention hall because they had just rebelled against Britain. And 
    although you needed some type of executive power, there were some who 
    were a little bit taken aback that you would even have a single 
    President, even in a constitutional system. Some of the people said at 
    the time that you can't really have a strong President and have a 
    republic.
      So this was a huge issue for the Founding Fathers. Clearly, it would 
    not have been acceptable to stand up at the Constitutional Convention 
    and say, Yes, the President is going to have the authority and duty to 
    enforce the laws; but if there are laws he doesn't like, he will be 
    able to delay provisions or ignore provisions as he sees fit, as long 
    as it is consistent with his overall purpose or political agenda. That 
    would not have been acceptable to anybody at the time.
      Can you imagine if when John Adams succeeded George Washington, he 
    just started delaying provisions related to the bank of the United 
    States or the Jay Treaty? Imagine when Jefferson came in. He ran 
    against the Alien and Sedition Act. Some of those were just allowed to 
    expire, but they went in and repealed a core portion of the Alien and 
    Sedition Act. They didn't just ignore it. The provisions that expired, 
    expired; and then they repealed the provisions that were still in 
    effect.
      That is the way it is supposed to be done. They would never have 
    allowed John Adams or Jefferson to come in and just willy-nilly enforce 
    what they wanted to and not enforce what they didn't want to.
      And so part of the frustration of this is Congress is supposed to 
    stand up for its authority. I think the House people here realize that 
    what the President is doing is not proper constitutional government, 
    but the U.S. Senate is just totally out to lunch on this. They are not 
    interested in safeguarding their institutional prerogatives, because 
    they are putting their political interests ahead of the legislative 
    body's authority. That really runs contrary to how the Founders 
    envisioned the separation of powers and checks and balances working.
      In Federalist 51 Madison said:
    
           Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.
    
      What he meant by that is that, yes, you have separate powers. You 
    have an executive, a legislative, and a judicial power. But just 
    because you separate them doesn't mean that individual liberties can be 
    secure.
      So you have got to give each branch the ability to check the other 
    branches. And they were sure they knew people would have different 
    partisan allegiances and all that, but they were pretty sure that each 
    branch would have the wherewithal and would want to defend its own 
    prerogatives.
      And so in this instance, I think what you don't have is a Senate that 
    is willing to join with the House, use the power of the purse, use the 
    appointment power, advise and consent, all the powers that we have, use 
    those until the President starts conforming with the law.
    
    [[Page H118]]
    
                                  {time}  1730
    
      But we are not there yet. And so this idea of trying to bring this in 
    front of courts, we shouldn't have to do that. We should be able to 
    defend our own turf. But it is frustrating because we don't have a lot 
    of other options at this point.
      So I think that my colleague from South Carolina, you know, I give 
    him credit for thinking of what can we actually do that could 
    potentially be successful. And so I am hoping that this move will be 
    successful.
      But I think, going forward--and this has been a problem before this 
    President. He is not the only one who has pulled stunts like this, 
    although I think he has gone beyond what any previous President has 
    done.
      Ultimately, people in this body and in the other Chamber have got to 
    get serious about defending our constitutional responsibility. That 
    means holding Presidents accountable who are not in accordance with 
    article II, section 3, the ``Take Care'' clause. But it also means not 
    delegating so much legislative authority to these bureaucracies when 
    they end up essentially legislating, and those rules are imposed on the 
    public without Congress saying anything at all about it.
      So, ultimately, the courts cannot save us if we aren't willing to 
    save ourselves and protect the authority that the Constitution grants 
    us and that we are supposed to exercise on behalf of the people that we 
    represent.
      We are, especially in this House, we are the people's House. The 
    President gets elected, too, but we are the closest to the people, and 
    I think we have got to do a better job of this going forward.
      So I would just tell my friend from South Carolina, Thank you for 
    doing this. I know you have signed on. I have a resolution just to say 
    that the House doesn't approve of this conduct, because I fear if we 
    don't do anything, then we are basically setting a precedent where this 
    is going to be unquestioned going forward.
      So I think as much as we can do, even if we are not successful, at 
    least we are showing people that we think this is a contested practice, 
    and we are not willing to allow this to become something that is 
    accepted for future Presidents, Republican or Democrat.
      Mr. RICE of South Carolina. I thank my friend from Florida.
      Separation of powers is fundamental to our form of government. The 
    Congress enacts laws. The President enforces the laws. One individual 
    who can both make the law and enforce it is more a monarch than a 
    President.
      Without the separation of powers, our form of government crumbles. As 
    earlier speakers said, the erosion of the separation of powers didn't 
    start with President Obama, but it has certainly accelerated. At home I 
    am asked all the time, The President is breaking the law; why don't you 
    do something about it? This resolution is an attempt to do exactly 
    that.
      Nobody would argue that the President has no discretion in enforcing 
    the law. Clearly, he does. But in these four instances, he has clearly 
    overstepped that discretion.
      I fall back to say, what would we say if the President has the power 
    to waive these things, the employer mandate, the penalty under the 
    employer mandate, that is a waiver of a tax? What would we say if the 
    next President waived the capital gains tax, or waived the maximum 
    bracket under the income tax, or waived the income tax for his friends?
      Clearly, that is beyond the discretion of the President. Clearly, 
    President Obama has gone beyond his discretion, and Congress needs to 
    enforce the Constitution.
      We have 44 cosponsors to our bill so far, but we need the help of the 
    American people. We need you to talk to your Representatives. If you 
    need more information about our resolution or what you can do, please 
    go to my Web site at www.rice.house.gov.
      Thank you for your concern. Thank you for viewing. Let's protect our 
    democracy.
      Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
      The SPEAKER pro tempore. Members must address their remarks to the 
    Chair and not to a perceived viewing audience.
    
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