Cantor accuses Obama of ignoring law on abortion, Jerusalem

House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorThe Hill's Campaign Report: Florida hangs in the balance Eric Cantor teams up with former rival Dave Brat in supporting GOP candidate in former district Bottom line MORE (R-Va.) unearthed old complaints that President Obama ignored the law on abortion and Jerusalem in a catalog of examples in which he says the president overstepped his constitutional authority.

Cantor released his report on “The Imperial Presidency” on Tuesday as a closing indictment of all that Republicans think is wrong with Obama's leadership. Among the 40 or so examples are two instances of foreign policies included under the heading “ignoring the plain letter of the law and failing to faithfully execute the law.”

In his report, Cantor accuses the State Department of funding a group that advocated for abortion rights overseas as part of the $18 million the administration spent to help Kenya reform its constitution in 2010, in violation of the Siljander Amendment. The Government Accountability Office in a report last year found that the U.S. Agency for International Development provided funding to a group that made recommendations about fetal rights and abortion to the entity charged with drafting the constitution and faulted the State Department for not having “clear guidance” for compliance with the law.


Prior to 2010, Kenyan law banned abortion. “The new constitution, however, includes an article entitled 'Right to Life,' ” the GAO said. “This article states that the life of a person begins at conception and that abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is a need for emergency treatment, the life or health of the mother is endangered, or it is permitted under another written law.”

“While U.S. officials supported the constitutional reform process,” the GAO added, “we found no indication that U.S. officials took a public position on the proposed constitution’s abortion-related provisions or directly attempted to influence the text of the provisions.”

Separately, Cantor 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.