Top Dem: Republicans forcing Obama to use executive actions

After a stinging defeat for the Obama administration in the Supreme Court last week, a top House Democrat on Sunday blamed Republicans for forcing the president to go around Congress over the last few years.

“These are all things that the American public wants to see, and the president's saying to Congress, 'If you're not going to do your job of actually passing laws that make those things happen ... I'm going to do what I can within the confines of the law to make this work,’ ” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) said in a heated interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

ADVERTISEMENT
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday in Noel Canning vs. NLRB that President Obama cannot make recess appointments while the Senate is in session, regardless of whether the upper chamber is considering legislation.

Becerra’s comments echoed those of Obama, who, in his weekly address on Saturday, said Republicans are standing in the way of his ideas to help the middle class.

Republicans, Obama said, have, just this year, opposed efforts to raise the minimum wage, extend unemployment insurance, overhaul the student loan system and install pay equity for women.

“This obstruction keeps the system rigged for those at the top, and rigged against the middle class. And as long as they insist on doing it, I’ll keep taking actions on my own — like the actions I’ve taken already to attract new jobs, lift workers’ wages and help students pay off their loans,” Obama said.

Obama’s comments came just days after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Republicans were planning to sue the president for what they see as overstepping his authority with executive actions.

“It's not about our wanting to stop him from doing his job,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said Sunday on "Fox News Sunday.” “It's about our wanting him to do the job the Constitution described.”

“With regard to the powers the Constitution provides Congress, we have the power of legislation, the power of the purse, the power to confirm appointments, the power of oversight, but we also have the power to bring causes of action when we believe that the president of the United States is exceeding his authority and is trampling on Article 1 of the Constitution,” he added.

— Bernie Becker contributed to this report, which was updated at 12:02 p.m.