Cantor delivers GOP's closing indictment against Obama's 'imperial presidency'

House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorBottom Line The Democrats' strategy conundrum: a 'movement' or a coalition? The biggest political upsets of the decade MORE (R-Va.) on Tuesday released his closing argument for the election, summing up all that the GOP conference sees wrong with the Obama presidency.

The new report, titled “The Imperial Presidency,” seeks to absolve Republicans in Congress of responsibility for the slow economic recovery while also hitting Obama for broader policy failures. 


Cantor paints Obama as an out-of-control leader who has thwarted the efforts of Republicans to help businesses, imposed regulatory burdens against the will of Congress and circumvented the checks and balances in the Constitution. 

The report, which cites 40 examples of presidential overreach, is being released on the same day Obama is presenting a glossy repackaging of his policy proposals to counter criticism that he has not presented voters with a second-term agenda. 

“While Administrations of both political parties have been known to test the bounds of the limits of their power, the breadth of the breakdown in the rule of law in recent years has reached new levels,” the report argues. “This is no way to govern. The President has set a precedent that even his supporters should find troubling.”

“House Republicans have acted to prevent and overturn the President’s harmful actions in order to return economic growth, opportunity and certainty to the American people and American job creators. However, the majority of the bills the House has passed are sitting idly in the Democrat-led Senate, without any action on the part of Democratic Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidNevada congressman admits to affair after relationship divulged on podcast Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil Bottom line MORE [(D-Nev.)] or President Obama,” it adds.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz defended Obama and accused Congress of blocking jobs initiatives.

“Despite the economic challenges facing this country, Congress has sat on the sidelines and that is why the President was clear that we could not afford to wait to help the middle class and create new jobs," he said.

"Even today, Republicans in Congress are blocking proposals to help responsible homeowners to refinance by taking advantage of historically low rates, expedite infrastructure projects, and lower student loan rates. But we have not waited for Congress to act. Over the past year, the President expanded jobs for veterans, helped small businesses create jobs, improved college affordability, and raised fuel economy standards," Schultz added. 

Cantor's report, less visually appealing but arguable more detailed than Obama’s policy proposals, contains a laundry list of complaints, on everything from National Labor Relations Board decisions to the way the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been set up.

It blasts Obama for breaking with precedent and making recess appointments when Congress is away for only a few days, for enacting “draconian” coal regulations, and for refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.

On healthcare, Cantor's report charged that Obama was both autocratic and arbitrary in implementing reforms. 

"While administrations of both political parties have been known to test the bounds of the limits of their power, the breadth of the breakdown in the rule of law in recent years has reached new levels," Cantor wrote. 

The report cited many aspects of the Affordable Care Act that have long troubled conservatives, including the birth control coverage mandate and the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). 

"IPAB does not make just mere recommendations," the report said of the Medicare cost-cutting board. 

"IPAB has the power to reduce what Medicare will pay doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers and their recommendations will have the force of law unless Congress enacts a law to stop them … This is an unprecedented power that has the potential to dramatically impact the availability (by limiting reimbursements) of care for the nation’s seniors," the report stated. 

IPAB is tasked with cutting payments to Medicare providers if the program's per-capita spending becomes too great. The Affordable Care Act states that IPAB cannot "ration healthcare, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums … or otherwise restrict benefits." 

Cantor also accuses Obama of overstepping on foreign policies. 

He lambasted the administration for refusing to record “Israel” as the place of birth on passports for U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem upon request. Congress requires the State Department do so under the 2003 Foreign Relations Authorization Act, but both the Obama and George W. Bush administrations have refused to implement the provision because it would violate long-standing U.S. policy about not recognizing sovereignty over Jerusalem, be it by Israel, Jordan or the Palestinians.

The status of Jerusalem has become a campaign issue, with GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney vowing to call the disputed holy city the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv if he's elected. Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, has been one of the most vocal critics of Obama's reluctance to call Jerusalem the capital during the campaign.

Julian Pecquet contributed.

This story was last updated at 4:23 p.m.