Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) said recent executive actions by President Obama, including a plan to extend high-speed Internet connections to virtually every school in the nation, demonstrate a "blatant" attempt to subvert the will of the American people.
"It's just a flagrant, you know, arrogant disregard not just for the current Congress," Grimm said in an interview with Fox News. "Look, it's not about me personally. That's not what this is about. You think about who is the Congress? It really — it is the voice of the people."
Obama has asked the Federal Communications Commission to hike a telecommunications fee to help pay for the ConnectEd program, which is estimated to cost between $4 billion and $6 billion. According to The Washington Post, that could translate into an increase of about $12 spread over three years in cell phone users' bills.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said this week that the FCC was an independent body that would make the determination itself on whether to fund the program, but called the fee "a pretty worthy tradeoff and a worthy investment."
But Earnest did acknowledge that Obama has pursued policy objectives independently because "we have seen a little dysfunction in Congress."
"You would think that connecting schools to the information superhighway would be a pretty noncontroversial topic, particularly when it's something that could be accomplished through a relatively modest investment," Earnest said. "Unfortunately, we haven't seen a lot of action in Congress, so the president has advocated an administrative, unilateral action to get this done. We're not going to wait for Congress to act."
But Grimm said the move was evidence that the president "doesn't care what the people think."
"He has an agenda and he's going to do whatever he has to do to pass that agenda, regardless of the Constitution," Grimm said. "I mean, I think our founding fathers are turning over in the graves right now because he's just so blatant in his— the administrators, the people he puts in charge of these agencies are bold and brazen about saying, 'yes, we're going to make an end run around Congress.'"
The New York Republican also argued that Obama had only himself to blame for Congress's inability to pass legislation.
"Leadership is about leading. The president hasn't led!" Grimm said, saying "a real leader" rises above partisanship.
"I've never once been invited to the White House to talk about policy, you know? So where's he been a leader?" Grimm asked.
Grimm also suggested that the president might intentionally be alienating members of Congress so he could unilaterally implement his policy agenda.
"I really do believe because of political reasons, it's more advantageous for the president to keep us divided so that he can make these end runs and use these administrators and the people he puts in charge to just go around the Congress to do an agenda that he knows ultimately the people are not going to support," Grimm said.