Executive power expansion is enabled by the failure of congress to assert its authority. A modern shift in congressional loyalty from the institutions of the House of Representatives and Senate to political party has permitted an uncontested expansion of executive power. In the past, the congress, in a bipartisan manner, rabidly defended its constitutional authority and prerogatives from encroachment by the executive branch.
President Obama continues the expansion of executive power in his administration, bringing the imbalance to new heights through executive actions. The Supreme Court ruled recently in a rare unanimous decision that Obama exceeded his authority in making three appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. The ruling was reflective of a long brewing constitutional conflict – the unchecked expansion of federal executive power.
President Obama is preparing executive actions to grant legal resident status to millions who have entered the country illegally that may pale all previous assertions of executive power. The executive action was delayed in September until the end of the year to avoid negative consequences for Democrat candidates in the impending congressional elections.
The White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Wednesday engaged in a debate with the press about the potential scope of the presidential executive actions on immigration. The press inquiry followed a recent revelation that the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service issued a request for proposals for up to 34 million Permanent Resident Cards and work permits to be delivered over a five year period with a minimum order of 4 million annually and “up to 9M cards during the initial period of performance to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.”
The precise nature of Obama’s executive action to confer legal status on those who entered the country illegally is not known as transparency has been lacking on the topic. Proponents of the action have indicated the president may legalize 5 million. The Immigration Service request may provide some insight, but is likely not a precise correlation with the final outcome.
Regardless - whether the president takes executive action to confer legal status on 1 million, 5 million, or 9 million, the action itself is a threat to one of the most basic principles of the constitutional republic – balance of power.
The congress, through its failure to assert its power has conveyed enormous power on the executive. It has the power to reverse the trend by asserting itself and overriding any executive action on immigration by passing countervailing legislation or denying funding to the implementing policy mechanisms. The president can veto such legislation, but a two-thirds vote in the congress can override the veto.
Every American, regardless of affiliation, has an interest in ensuring a balance of power is maintained in our federal government lest we end up a dictatorship. The ever expanding power of the executive branch of government is a threat to constitutional principles and individual liberty.
In the coming election it is important that all voters cast ballots in support of candidates who will defend the balance of power principle. Any candidate, either Democrat or Republican, not willing to defend congress’ constitutional authority and vote for legislation to counter executive action that confers legal immigrant status by executive fiat is not worthy of a seat in either the House or Senate.