American Elephants


A Reminder, In Your Words Mr. President: “That’s Not How Democracy Works” by The Elephant's Child

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The year is 2011, and election coming up, the president is making lots of speeches and fundraising. On May 10, President Obama spoke at Chamizal National Memorial Park in El Paso Texas. He vowed to “keep up the fight” to pass comprehensive immigration reform through Congress, because the immigration system was broken. (Not broken. The immigration laws simply are not enforced).

He assured the audience that the border fence was essentially complete, (if  “essentially complete” means that 84 miles of the mandated double fencing have been built of the 1,933 miles of our border with Mexico). That pertains to compliance with the Secure Fence Act of 2006.

Then he added:

“Sometimes when I talk to immigration advocates, they wish I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself, but that’s not how a democracy works,” Obama said. “What we really need to do is to keep up the fight to pass genuine, comprehensive reform. That is the ultimate solution to this problem. That’s what I’m committed to doing.”

Back in the halls of Congress, it is Jeff Sessions who once again spoke of constitutional government in defense of American workers in a clarifying speech yesterday on the Senate floor:

A number of things have been happening today with regard to the funding of the Department of Homeland Security. There’s been a lot of spin about that and that somehow the Republicans are blocking the funding of the Department of Homeland Security. This gives new meaning to the word “obfuscation,” I suppose, or “disingenuousness.” The truth is, the House of Representatives has fully funded the Department of Homeland Security. It’s provided the level of funding the President asked for. It’s kept all the accounts at Homeland Security as approved through the congressional process. It simply says, but, Mr. President, we considered your bill, this amnesty bill that will provide work permits, photo IDs, Social Security numbers, Medicare benefits. You can’t do that. We considered that and rejected it. So we’re not going to fund that.

Now, the President has told us and his staff that they have across the river in Crystal City, they’re leasing a new building and this building is going to hire a thousand workers, paid for by the taxpayers of the United States, part of Homeland Security. Are those thousand workers going to be utilized to enforce the laws of the United States? Are they going to process applications for citizenship or visas? No. Those 1,000 people, costing several hundred million dollars, in truth, those people are going to be processing and providing these benefits to people unlawfully in America… (Read on below)

So Congress says, wait a minute, we didn’t authorize money for that. You can’t spend money to fund exactly the opposite of what we’ve enacted. So we’re just going to put some language in the bill, the normal bill that funds Homeland Security, and say you can’t spend the money to violate the law. You can only spend the money to enforce the law, like you were supposed to do. And the bill comes to the Senate and what spectacle do we have? We have the Democratic members in lockstep unity blocking even proceeding to this bill. And they contend that we’re not funding Homeland Security. Can you imagine that? …Congress is a coequal branch. It’s not subordinate to the President. If anything, the Constitution provides even more power to the legislative…. The most power in Congress is the power of the purse. Congress is not obligated to pay for anything it believes is unwise, and it has an absolute duty not to fund anything that’s unconstitutional or illegal, which is what we’re dealing with here. So the House of Representatives acted wisely, properly, funding Homeland Security and not allowing activities to be carried out that are unlawful and that Congress has rejected…

How my colleagues have the gall to come to the floor, have a press conference this afternoon, and blame Republicans for shutting down Homeland Security is beyond me.

Now, there are some even on the Republican side that say, “Oh, gosh,” you know, “The President will blame us even if it’s not our fault and we might as well cave in and give him what he wants.” But what he wants is something he can’t be given. What he wants is for Congress to capitulate and erode its powers and responsibility. He wants Congress to violate its duty, to fund something that is illegal and contrary to Congress’s wishes. He can’t demand that. He has no right to demand that.

So Congress cannot fund—cannot, must not fund—an illegal action in hopes that another branch of government will intervene. Now, I say that because some have said, “Well, a court has ruled in Texas that a part of this action by the President is unlawful.” The court was narrow in its decision… I would point out that the Texas court’s injunction addresses only a part of Obama’s lawless actions and could be lifted at any time.

We should stand up for Congresses in years to come, for our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and defend the power of the purse and defend the integrity of this Congress. …

Now, the President has told us and his staff that they have across the river in Crystal City, they’re leasing a new building and this building is going to hire a thousand workers, paid for by the taxpayers of the United States, part of Homeland Security. Are those thousand workers going to be utilized to enforce the laws of the United States? Are they going to process applications for citizenship or visas? No. Those 1,000 people, costing several hundred million dollars, in truth, those people are going to be processing and providing these benefits to people unlawfully in America…

So Congress says, wait a minute, we didn’t authorize money for that. You can’t spend money to fund exactly the opposite of what we’ve enacted. So we’re just going to put some language in the bill, the normal bill that funds Homeland Security, and say you can’t spend the money to violate the law. You can only spend the money to enforce the law, like you were supposed to do. And the bill comes to the Senate and what spectacle do we have? We have the Democratic members in lockstep unity blocking even proceeding to this bill. And they contend that we’re not funding Homeland Security. Can you imagine that? …

Congress is a coequal branch. It’s not subordinate to the President. If anything, the Constitution provides even more power to the legislative…. The most power in Congress is the power of the purse. Congress is not obligated to pay for anything it believes is unwise, and it has an absolute duty not to fund anything that’s unconstitutional or illegal, which is what we’re dealing with here. So the House of Representatives acted wisely, properly, funding Homeland Security and not allowing activities to be carried out that are unlawful and that Congress has rejected…

How my colleagues have the gall to come to the floor, have a press conference this afternoon, and blame Republicans for shutting down Homeland Security is beyond me.

Now, there are some even on the Republican side that say, “Oh, gosh,” you know, “The President will blame us even if it’s not our fault and we might as well cave in and give him what he wants.” But what he wants is something he can’t be given. What he wants is for Congress to capitulate and erode its powers and responsibility. He wants Congress to violate its duty, to fund something that is illegal and contrary to Congress’s wishes. He can’t demand that. He has no right to demand that.

So Congress cannot fund—cannot, must not fund—an illegal action in hopes that another branch of government will intervene. Now, I say that because some have said, “Well, a court has ruled in Texas that a part of this action by the President is unlawful.” The court was narrow in its decision… I would point out that the Texas court’s injunction addresses only a part of Obama’s lawless actions and could be lifted at any time.

We should stand up for Congresses in years to come, for our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and defend the power of the purse and defend the integrity of this Congress. …


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