Obama’s Cuba announcement is a slap in the face to Congress

It only took a couple of days for the ink to dry on Congress’ decision to fund the Obama administration’s objectives for the rest of the year before it came back to bite them.

The choice to fund all of the government for the next nine months, besides the Department of Homeland Security, means that Congress has little recourse to rein in Obama’s Cuban bailout.

For years, Cuba had depended upon oil-rich Venezuela for the hard cash it needed for the Castro regime to survive. The dramatic drop in oil prices has put Venezuela’s government on the ropes as their socialized running of their industry has made their oil more expensive and less plentiful. The economy of Venezuela has been teetering toward collapse for years, but $100 a barrel oil kept them afloat.

{mosads}Now they face oil being sold for under $60 a barrel while the government’s estimated break-even price point is more than $150 a barrel. Their safety cushion is gone.

Cuba, as a financial dependent upon Venezuela, is in even worse shape. Into this environment Obama has offered the repressive regime that runs Cuba a lifeline without even bothering to get any human rights concessions or anything else that would help the people of Cuba.

Now Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Republican leaders are eating the spoiled fruit of their omnibus harvest.

It isn’t as if they were not aware of the probability that President Obama would go Lone Ranger again. Not only did they have the executive amnesty example, but every conservative group in the country was begging them to do a short-term continuing resolution to serve as a stop-gap against this exact kind of action.

Of course, it could be argued that it wouldn’t matter, as Congress has already ceded the power of the purse through the much-voiced determination of Republican leaders to avoid a government shutdown at all costs.

It is from this position of weakness that Boehner expressed his outrage on Twitter, declaring that “Relations with the Castro regime should not be revisited, let alone normalized, until the Cuban people enjoy freedom — & not 1 second sooner.”

While the Speaker’s position sounds strong, the truth is that he traded away his capacity to do anything about it, making his tweet even less meaningful than a Kim Kardashian 140-character observation.

The lesson that should have been learned over the past six years is that Obama doesn’t care about the law and will move forward aggressively unless Congress preserves and is willing to use its constitutional prerogatives.

Obama’s Cuba announcement in the days immediately following the great bipartisan compromise between Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the president should send a clear signal to Congress that it is their job to throw sands in the gears of Obama’s fundamental transformation of America that voters thoroughly rejected in November.

There cannot be compromise with someone who has utter contempt for Congress and the Constitution and is feverishly working against a clock.

Somehow I suspect that this message is completely lost on the incumbent Republican congressional leadership.

Manning is vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government.

Tags Cromnibus Cuba John Boehner Venezuela

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