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Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’
February 26th, 2015 at 1:44 pm
Boehner Stands Firm on Tying DHS Funding to Amnesty Ban

Kudos to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for declining the Senate GOP’s offer to cave to Democrats’ demand for a so-called “clean” funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security.

As I discuss in my column this week, some Senate Republican leaders are getting gun shy about following through with the party’s promise to condition funding for DHS on new legislative language that specifically prohibits immigration agencies from implementing President Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty program. They warn that Republicans will be blamed for the shutdown that would start on Sunday when the DHS budget ends, if no new bill is passed. Better, they argue, to appropriate the money now and hope the federal judiciary holds Obama accountable in the future.

At a press conference today, Boehner reminded everyone that – at least publicly – “All Republicans agree that we need to fund the Department of Homeland Security and we want to stop the president’s actions in response to immigration.”

Ever the politician, Boehner “would not say whether he would back a Senate funding bill without provisions that would defund President Obama’s executive actions on immigration,” reports National Journal.

Still, it’s encouraging to hear the Speaker of the House sound resolute in defense of the rule of law when so much of the political class is aching to cut a deal.

February 24th, 2015 at 2:26 pm
Is Obama’s Diva Status a Reason to Accelerate Amnesty Lawsuit?

Consider the following as an example of how much President Barack Obama and his administration think the rule of law should bend to suit their political calculations.

The Justice Department asked a federal court on Monday to reverse its decision to halt the president’s unilateral amnesty directive within 48 hours so that Obama could assure activists attending a town hall in Miami on Wednesday that deportation waivers and work permits would be in the mail.

The expedited timeline is being objected to by Texas and the 20+ other states suing to require the Obama administration to follow federal law and give advance notice and a comment period to the public, reports the LA Times.

Fairness suggests that if the Justice Department took a week to file its request to reverse, Texas and its fellow challengers should get at least as much time to defend their position.

The Justice Department’s self-serving request highlights the central problem driving this litigation – Obama is a diva whose political calculations trump the rule of law.

The federal courts should slap down that dangerous misconception, early and often.

February 23rd, 2015 at 6:36 pm
Gov. Abbott: 20,000 Crossed Texas Border Since January 1

It looks like the surge of illegal immigration across the southern border isn’t getting any better.

“Already this calendar year, since January 1, we have had more than 20,000 people come across the border, apprehended, unauthorized. And so we have an ongoing problem on the border that Congress must step up and solve,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, said while appearing on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday.

Abbott said that to stem the tide he is posting an additional 500 Texas Rangers near the border. The cost for the expanded presence will come from the state’s budget, even though responsibility for securing the border belongs to the federal government.

Abbott was on the show to discuss the Texas-led lawsuit he initiated challenging President Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty program because it failed to follow federal law granting the public a notice and comment period before being implemented. Last week a federal district judge agreed with the challengers and granted a temporary injunction to halt Obama’s program.

Barely a month into office, Abbott is proving himself to be a conservative leader who knows how to get results in the courtroom and the court of public opinion.

February 18th, 2015 at 5:12 pm
Obama’s Amnesty Program Halted for Failure to Follow the Rules

President Barack Obama seemingly loves to invite controversy and criticism for using executive discretion to rewrite or ignore federal law. He and his allies apparently believe that when critics say his actions violate the Constitution, most people assume the dispute is too complex to understand or simply motivated by ideology.

So perhaps what’s needed to focus the public’s attention is a straightforward line of argument that shows Obama deliberately disregarding a bright line rule.

If so, Judge Andrew Hanen may have found it.

On Tuesday, Hanen granted a temporary injunction to Texas and more than twenty other states suing to stop Obama’s unilateral amnesty from going into effect. The reason is simple. By announcing the plan without any advance notice, Obama violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

The APA is a very important but little known federal law that tries to rein in the administrative state by requiring agencies to give notice and accept comments before implementing changes in policy. Because Obama did not comply with this very simple rule, his amnesty plan is, in effect, illegal.

The Obama administration is already working on an appeal to the Fifth Circuit, and time will tell whether this very straightforward application of the law to the facts is undone somehow with lawyerly sleight-of-hand.

In the meantime, critics of the Obama administration’s disregard for the rule of law can enjoy the fact that, for the moment at least, the most activist president in modern times is being stymied by the very Act that makes governmental activism possible.

February 12th, 2015 at 7:35 pm
Obama Demagogues Staples Over Part-Time Worker Policy

Apparently, the president who has time to share his Final Four picks on national television can also squeeze in space on his schedule to erroneously charge Staples with oppressing its own workforce.

Earlier this week, Barack Obama was interviewed by BuzzFeed, an online news site. BuzzFeed claimed to have evidence that Staples, the office supply giant, threatens to fire part-time employees who work more than 25 hours a week. The reason – anything more could qualify the worker for employer-sponsored health insurance under ObamaCare. (30 hours per week is the threshold.)

Asked to respond, Obama unleashed his inner community organizer.

“I haven’t looked at Staples stock lately or what the compensation of the CEO is, but I suspect that they could well afford to treat their workers favorably and give them some basic financial security,” Obama replied. “…when I hear large corporations that make billions of dollars in profits trying to blame our interest in providing health insurance as an excuse for cutting back workers’ wages, shame on them.”

On the contrary, shame on the President of the United States.

“Unfortunately, the president appears not to have all the facts,” a Staples spokesman told CNN Money. The cap on part-time work hours has been in place for a decade, and the company has many opportunities for hourly employees to move into full-time positions.

It’s striking that a man who doesn’t blink at proposing a federal budget more than $472 billion in the red next year thinks himself capable of lecturing a private business on how it should spend its profits.

Maybe he should stick with basketball brackets, and let the professionals manage the books.

February 11th, 2015 at 12:48 pm
Gallup: Obama on Track to be Most Polarizing President Ever

President Barack Obama is on pace to have the most polarized approval ratings in history, according to a new Gallup poll.

Polarized approval ratings mean the gap between those in a president’s party that approve of him compared to those in the opposition party that don’t. “So far in his presidency, there has been an average party gap of 70 points in Obama’s approval ratings, which, if it continues, would be easily the highest for a president to date,” says the Gallup summary.

For context, former President George W. Bush “is second with a 61-point gap throughout his presidency, followed by Clinton (56) and Reagan (52). The other presidents [going back to Eisenhower] had party gaps of no more than 41 points.”

As Tim explained in his column last week, it’s no surprise that people concerned about the country’s fiscal future disapprove of Obama’s job performance. Economic growth is in a nine-year rut, the percentage of the U.S. population with jobs is as low as when Jimmy Carter was in office, and the median income has actually declined since Obama’s economic “recovery” was announced.

The real question after reading through the Gallup results isn’t, What’s the matter with Republicans? It’s, How in the world can Democrats see the current president as worthy of such lofty praise?

February 4th, 2015 at 1:11 pm
IRS Delays Enforcement of ObamaCare “Clawback”

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome another politically-motivated ObamaCare delay to the stage!

Megan McArdle sums up the IRS’ decision to let those who received too much in ObamaCare subsidies last year get extra time to pay back the difference (called the law’s “clawback” provision).

“It’s not relieving you of the obligation to repay; it’s just saying that you won’t be liable for a penalty if you don’t repay by the deadline,” explains McArdle. “Interest will continue to accrue, but the interest rates that the IRS charges are actually pretty reasonable (and probably much better than what your credit card company charges). It’s the failure-to-pay penalties it layers on top – half a percentage point a month, with even stiffer penalties for failing to file – that really make your tax bill add up fast.”

That is, if the Obama IRS ever gets around to enforcing the parts of laws it doesn’t like. McArdle writes, “The IRS emphasizes that this is a one-time deal, just for 2014. But I’m not sure if you should believe it. This emphasizes one of the problems we’ve spoken about a lot in this space: The political will to impose the costs of the Affordable Care Act is a lot less strong than the will to distribute the benefits.”

The Republican establishment was once derided as the tax collector for the welfare state. If Obama and the Democratic Party can’t be bothered to administer both the costs and the benefits of their so-called health reform law, the GOP shouldn’t shoulder the burden of balancing its books.

Every politically-motivated delay in enforcing an aspect of ObamaCare is a tacit admission by its supporters that the law is unworkable in practice. Republicans should acknowledge the obvious and start afresh.

February 3rd, 2015 at 7:36 pm
Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats Vote to Shut Down DHS; Time for GOP to Play Hardball

Harry Reid (D-NV) and his Senate Democrats voted to shut down the Department of Homeland Security today.

The piece of legislation they voted down was a Republican bill to fund DHS for the rest of the fiscal year with the caveat that no funds could be spent implementing President Barack Obama’s unilateral immigration amnesty. Currently, the DHS budget is set to expire at the end of February.

The decision probably didn’t involve too much deliberation or anguish since Reid & Co. can count on a sympathetic media to frame the result as Republican obstruction, i.e. not letting Obama and the Democratic Party run roughshod over federal law to curry favor with millions of potential future voters.

If anything Reid and his allies probably think they helped Obama save face by shielding him from having to veto common sense legislation for naked political reasons. Now, Obama can blame Congress for not working, even though it’s the members of his own party that are throwing up roadblocks.

One thing that is clear is that Reid never would have whipped his entire caucus in opposition unless Obama had authorized it. So, call this an indirect veto of Republicans’ immigration funding maneuver and we’re right where we would have been had the bill passed and been rejected.

Obama and Reid play on the same team, so Republicans can’t let the media portray this as anything other than what it is – a high stakes dispute over whether policy gets decided according to the rule of law or the whim of one.

If the president wants to start the negotiating process earlier than expected, so be it. Republicans in Congress shouldn’t use this an excuse to cave.

There had to be a strategy to overcome the veto, at least in the court of public opinion. After today’s vote, it’s time to accelerate the time line.

February 2nd, 2015 at 8:03 pm
White House Considering More ObamaCare Exemptions

Here’s everything you need to know about the corrupting tendencies of the modern administrative state.

When the ruling elite’s social engineering policies threaten to weaken its grip on power, the law can be bent in any way that pleases them.

Exhibit A is a news article from the New York Times, which begins, “Obama administration officials and other supporters of the Affordable Care Act say they worry that the tax-filing season will generate new anger as uninsured consumers learn that they must pay tax penalties and as many people struggle with complex forms needed to justify tax credits they received in 2014 to pay for health insurance.”

The solution: “The White House has already granted some exemptions and is considering more to avoid a political firestorm.”

You read that correctly. If lots of people will be angry because ObamaCare is slated to work as designed – by ensuring that the people who received insurance subsidies actually qualified for them – it’s completely permissible to just exempt them from compliance.

This is interest group politics run amuck.

It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating. If Mitt Romney had said during the 2012 presidential campaign that all he needed to repeal ObamaCare was to be elected so he could not enforce the law, the Left would have been up in arms swearing to sue him in court for dereliction of duty. When Barack Obama does the same thing it’s suddenly accepted as executive discretion.

One day liberals may see a conservative reap a policy windfall thanks to Obama’s careless actions. If this is the way it’s going to be in the future, don’t be surprised to see presidents of every partisan stripe erode the rule of law by carving out exemptions for their political base. Today it’s the working poor. Tomorrow it might be trust fund kids who see their capital gains taxes go uncollected.

And then, we’ll be Greece.

January 29th, 2015 at 6:20 pm
Health Insurance Penalty Obama Decried in 2008 Coming Due in 2015

Add another bullet point to ObamaCare’s litany of broken promises.

The U.S. Treasury announced this week that on Tax Day this year, “Some 3 million to 6 million Americans will have to pay an ObamaCare tax penalty for not having health insurance last year,” reports CNN Money.

Since the penalty is the greater of $95 or 1 percent of income, the bill could bigger than expected.

To calculate possible amounts, go here.

Though it’s been awhile, some may recall that in 2008 a certain presidential candidate attacked Hillary Clinton for being open to garnishing workers’ wages if they failed to buy health insurance under her reform proposal. True to form, Barack Obama promised no such penalty if he was elected president.

Now we know the truth.

January 27th, 2015 at 6:41 pm
GOP Congress Working on ObamaCare Alternative If Subsidies Struck Down

Republicans on both sides of Capitol Hill are busy strategizing for ways to minimize the political fallout if the Supreme Court invalidates health insurance subsidies for millions of people currently receiving them under ObamaCare.

The case, King v. Burwell, challenges the IRS’ decision to make insurance premium subsidies available to citizens of 34 states that do not have a state-run ObamaCare exchange. The policy is in direct conflict with ObamaCare’s text, providing the justices with a clear opportunity to hold the Obama administration to the letter of the law.

The Hill is reporting that Republican members of the House and Senate are discussing ways to be ready when and if an estimated 5 to 6 million Americans suddenly can’t afford to purchase mandated health insurance.

So far, no details have emerged regarding specifics. There is a lot to consider since any change in the law will require President Barack Obama’s signature. A complicating factor may be this president’s willingness to let the media portray Republicans and the Court as heartless conservatives, even though all that’s being asked for is the Obama administration to implement its own law as written.

Nothing new here.

On the flip side, it’s encouraging to hear that Republicans in Congress are trying to get in front of a potentially damaging issue by coalescing around an alternative they can sell to the public.

Hopefully this is the start of a welcome trend.

January 20th, 2015 at 5:23 pm
Statesmanship in Tonight’s State of the Union?

Writing at The Federalist, my friend Andrew Carico gives some good advice to President Barack Obama ahead of the latter’s seventh State of the Union address tonight.

After recounting the descent of the event into a Woodrow Wilson-inspired laundry list of to-do items, Carico distinguishes a statesman from a leader, defining the former as “someone who understands constitutional principles, leads by way of those principles, and seeks to make those principles work in political life. He seeks to achieve stature in public office through toning down divisions and appealing to reason, not simply attempting to win the fight of the day by practicing the little arts of popularity.”

Carico’s description of the statesman sounds arguably like what some people thought they were getting when they voted for the orator who said, “there’s not a liberal America or a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.”

It’s no coincidence that statesman-sounding Obama went from obscurity to the White House, while liberal demagogue Obama can’t crack a 50 percent approval rating.

For more of Carico’s excellent analysis, click here.

January 8th, 2015 at 2:10 pm
Rep. Roby Files Bill to Defund Obama’s Amnesty

If you want to know how Congress can stop President Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty plan, take a look at Rep. Martha Roby’s (R-AL) new proposal – H.R. 31, the “Prevention of Executive Amnesty Act of 2015.”

Filed as a standalone bill, the measure could easily be rolled into the upcoming appropriations package for the Department of Homeland Security, the federal agency that is tasked with implementing Obama’s decision to halt deportations for up to 5 million illegal immigrants and grant many of them work permits.

As Byron York explains, “Roby’s bill is essentially a ‘none of the funds’ clause, that is, it forbids the executive branch from spending money for a particular purpose.” In the so-called ‘crominbus’ bill passed in December to fund every other federal agency except DHS, Congress used the ‘none of the funds’ clause more than 450 times. Applying it to the directives that implement Obama’s amnesty is a simple, straightforward way for Congress to use its power of the purse to block the move.

Of course, Obama can veto any bill with Roby’s language. But since the president doesn’t have a line-item veto, refusing to sign the law would defund DHS.

For once, let this president get the blame for shutting down the government.

January 6th, 2015 at 4:23 pm
Senate GOP Eyes Keystone XL Approval

Now in the majority, GOP Senators are moving quickly to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, a transcontinental project that would link Canadian oil to refineries in American Gulf states.

“The president is going to see the Keystone XL pipeline on his desk and it’s going to be a bellwether decision by the president whether to go with jobs and the economy,” Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), said on Sunday.

President Barack Obama has played games with the approval process over the past few years. Initially, his State Department supported the project and was ready to go forward until environmental activists successfully lobbied for delaying tactics, such as additional feasibility studies.

Without a Democratic Senate running interference, Obama will now have to govern. Though it prefers to partner with the United States, Canada has said it will export its oil to China if the Obama administration remains beholden to the environmental lobby.

The truth of the matter is that the oil is being pumped and its $3.4 billion economic contribution will have to go somewhere. Ultimately, Obama’s decision boils down to whether he wants Canadian oil to boost the American economy or China’s.

December 30th, 2014 at 4:17 pm
Gruber in 2009: ObamaCare Has No Cost Controls

Hat tip to the Daily Caller for unearthing yet another damning admission from ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber.

At roughly the same time in 2009 when President Barack Obama was telling the American people that passing his version of health care reform would lower costs, Gruber was telling an audience in Syracuse, New York it was all a lie.

“Why are we closer than we’ve ever been before? Because there are no cost controls in these proposals. Because this bill’s about coverage. Which is good! Why should we hold 48 million uninsured people hostage to the fact that we don’t yet know how to control costs in a politically acceptable way? Let’s get the people covered and then let’s do cost control,” Gruber told his listeners.

Thanks for the honesty, Professor Gruber, but it only counts if you say it before the damage is done.

December 29th, 2014 at 12:03 pm
Liberal Harvard Law Prof Calls Obama’s EPA “Lawless”

It’s not every day that the leading liberal law professor in America calls out the actions of the Obama Environmental Protection Agency as “lawless” and “unconstitutional.”

“After studying the only legal basis offered for the EPA’s proposed rule, I concluded that the agency is asserting executive power far beyond its lawful authority,” writes Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe.

The EPA is launching a “Clean Power Plan” that will require state governments to enact restrictions on local electrical power plants in an effort to fight global climate change. As Tribe sees it, the EPA “would effectively dictate the energy mix used in each state and leave the state with essentially no choice in implementing its plan.” Such an arrangement would violate numerous Supreme Court decisions that prohibit “federal commandeering of state governments” because it “defeats political accountability and violates principles of federalism that are basic to our constitutional order.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time President Obama has exceeded his constitutional authority to implement a controversial policy. It fits a pattern of executive action unrestrained by seemingly any qualms over violating clear statutory limitations.

And even though Tribe doesn’t make the obvious analogy to ObamaCare’s politically corrupt origin, he doesn’t pass up the opportunity to highlight what’s really motivating the EPA’s new regulatory scheme: “The brute fact is that the Obama administration failed to get climate change legislation through Congress. Yet the EPA is acting as though it has the legislative authority anyway to re-engineer the nation’s electric generating system and power grid. It does not.”

Change the author’s byline and this article easily could be written by any constitutional conservative. Realizing that it comes instead from one of the leading proponents of the “living constitution” school, and it’s obvious that Obama & Co. are far beyond the boundaries of what even the most celebrated liberal academic scholar considers lawful executive action.

December 17th, 2014 at 2:34 pm
Fed Judge Says Obama’s Amnesty Unconstitutional

A federal district judge has said that President Barack Obama’s amnesty program for illegal immigrants violates the U.S. Constitution.

The only question: Does it matter?

Judge Arthur Schwab, a George W. Bush appointee, issued a ruling yesterday saying that, “President Obama’s executive action goes beyond prosecutorial discretion because: (a) it provides for a systematic and rigid process by which a broad group of individuals will be treated differently than others based upon arbitrary classifications, rather than case-by-case examination; and (b) it allows undocumented immigrants, who fall within these broad categories, to obtain substantive rights.”

Unfortunately, however, Judge Schwab’s declaration may be little more than a non-binding advisory opinion. According to conservative law professor Jonathan Adler – one of the originators of the ObamaCare subsidies challenge now before the U.S. Supreme Court – Schwab’s ruling came after he requested supplemental briefing in a case trying to decide how to sentence an illegal immigrant for a non-immigration-related crime. Apparently, Schwab wanted to know if the defendant qualified for protection from deportation under Obama’s plan. Schwab then used the occasion to find the amnesty program unconstitutional.

While legal experts like Adler try to figure out how much to make of this opinion, Schwab’s ruling points to a larger issue. Namely, that major policy changes have major policy implications. For example, legal immigrants are finding out that creating exceptions for illegals increases the costs on the law-abiding.

Time will tell if Obama’s amnesty program has a negative impact on the federal court system as well.

December 11th, 2014 at 1:18 pm
Now, 24 States Are Suing to Stop Obama’s Unilateral Amnesty

Nearly half of the States in America are now suing the Obama administration to stop the president’s unilateral and unconstitutional directive to grant temporary amnesty and work permits to as many as five million illegal immigrants.

Current Texas Attorney General and incoming Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, announced four new states joining the coalition he assembled that is seeking to have the federal courts halt a Department of Homeland Security directive that violates both the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

The latest roster includes: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

If this trend keeps up, it won’t take much longer for a majority of states to oppose what to all reasonable observers is an unprecedented power grab by this president.

Hopefully, the federal courts are listening.

December 5th, 2014 at 12:57 pm
Obama’s Immigration Amnesty Is NOT an Executive Order

My hat is off to Jerome Corsi at World Net Daily for confirming that President Barack Obama’s unilateral and unconstitutional immigration amnesty that affects up to five million illegal immigrants was not, in fact, given as part of an executive order.

Instead, what Obama signed in Las Vegas on November 21 – the day after he announced his intent to grant a temporary halt to some deportations and provide work permits – were documents much different.

“One was a presidential proclamation creating a White House Task Force on New Americans and the other a presidential memorandum instructing the secretaries of State and Homeland Security to consult with various governmental and non-governmental entities to reduce costs and improve service in issuing immigrant and non-immigrant visas,” reports Corsi.

As Corsi explains, “the only Obama administration document relevant to the plan announced Nov. 20 is a DHS memorandum signed by [Homeland Security Secretary Jeh] Johnson titled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children with Respect to Certain Individuals Who Are the Parents of U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents.”

Getting into the ramifications of this revelation probably merits its own column, but it should be mentioned here that the Texas-led, 17 state lawsuit challenging Obama’s immigration amnesty already knew about this legal technicality and focuses its fire on Secretary Johnson’s abuse of the notice-and-comment process required of any policy change. So far, Johnson’s memorandum implementing Obama’s amnesty has not appeared in the Federal Register, as required, and thus is in clear violation of the law.

Stay tuned. The games are likely just beginning.

December 4th, 2014 at 2:42 pm
Washington Post: Obama’s Immigration Amnesty “Unprecedented”

Add the editorial board of the Washington Post to the list of people who think President Barack Obama is setting a very troubling precedent with his decision to grant temporary amnesty and work permits to as many as 5 million illegal aliens.

Key to the Post’s criticism is the revelation that part of the justification for Obama’s amnesty has been completely falsified. Since the president announced his executive order, he and members of his administration have said that the percentage of people who will benefit from his amnesty are similar to an amnesty granted by President George H. W. Bush. Specifically, Obama & Co. claim that Bush’s order benefited 1.5 million illegals, while Obama’s would benefit around 4 million. In both cases, the beneficiaries are estimated to be around 36 percent of all illegal aliens.

But according to Post reporter Glenn Kessler, that assertion cannot be verified. At best, the total number of Bush beneficiaries was no more than a couple hundred thousand – far less of a percentage than what Obama is targeting.

It gets worse. As the editorial board notes, “Even the apparent original source of the 1.5 million figure – Gene McNary, who led the Immigration and Naturalization Service at the time – told Mr. Kessler he believes the number is false and was based on a misunderstanding from testimony he gave to Congress. And no underlying data or methodology to justify the 1.5 million figure has been uncovered.” (Emphasis mine)

The facts don’t lie. What Obama is trying to do with his unilateral and unconstitutional immigration amnesty has no precedent in practice and no place in a country governed by the rule of law.