|Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 7.21.14
Monday, July 21, 2014 â€“
A Republic, If We Can Keep It
Last week at a House Rules Committee hearing entitled â€śEnforcing the Presidentâ€™s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws,â€ť Mr. Jonathan Turley, a respected George Washington University law professor who has confirmed that he voted for President Obama, testified, â€śWhat we are witnessing today is one of the greatest challenges to our constitutional system in the history of this country.â€ť
In an effort to reaffirm the authority of the legislative branch in the Constitutional lawmaking process and compel President Obama to faithfully execute the laws of the land, my colleagues and I will soon be considering a resolution authorizing Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to file suit against the President on behalf of the House of Representatives.
Our focus in the lawsuit is the Presidentâ€™s decision, acting alone without Congressional authority, to delay a key provision in Obamacare â€“ the employer mandate. This provision requires businesses with 50 or more employees to provide those employees with health insurance coverage. It was originally to have taken effect January 1.
To be certain, I support neither Obamacare nor its employer mandate. However, as spelled out in Article II, section 3 of our Constitution, the President â€śshall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.â€ť The Constitution is the governing document of this nation, and should be followed. It doesnâ€™t matter whether I like the law or whether the President likes the law. Once passed by Congress and signed into law by the sitting President, it is the Presidentâ€™s job to faithfully execute the law unless changed by Congress.
As a Member of the House of Representatives, it is my sworn duty to protect the rights and freedoms afforded us by our Constitution, and to steadfastly defend our system of checks and balances. Our government was intentionally designed to be deliberate and cumbersome. This can be frustrating, but it seeks to ensure that all viewpoints are heard and given due consideration. Defending our system of government is a responsibility that I do not take lightly.
In testifying before the Rules Committee, Turley remarked, â€śOur system is changing and this body is the one branch that must act if we're to reverse those changes. We're seeing the emergence of a different model of government, a model long ago rejected by the framers. A dominant presidency has occurred with very little Congressional opposition. Indeed, when President Obama pledged to circumvent Congress, he received rapturous applause from the very body that he was proposing to make practically irrelevant. Now many members are contesting the right of this institution to even be heard in federal court. This body is moving from self-loathing to self-destruction in a system that is in crisis.â€ť
While others, most with political views similar to the Presidentâ€™s, may have cheered on the use of his â€śpen-and-phoneâ€ť strategy of executive action, I was appalled and dismayed. This great American Republic is in a time of struggle. For that reason, when the idea of suing the President was first floated to House Republicans by Speaker Boehner, I immediately responded with â€śLetâ€™s do it. It is time to fight.â€ť
Will our Republic survive? It is said that as Benjamin Franklin emerged from the Constitutional Convention, he was asked what sort of government had been created. As the story goes, he responded, â€śA Republic, if you can keep it.â€ť
I will fight to keep it. And I hope you will do the same.
We have made it more than 200 years as a Republic, and I think we can continue to survive as a Republic. This great American Republic, while not perfect, has always striven to protect our freedoms. But, to borrow from President Ronald Reagan, â€śFreedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.â€ť We must be ever vigilant in protecting our Republic â€“ not a party or a person, but a form of government that has served us well in good times and bad.
Let me hear from you about your ideas on how to protect our American Republic.
I often criticize the Administration for their energy policies, many of which I think are misguided. But today let me commend them for reaching the correct decision, albeit late, on allowing the use of seismic surveys in identifying energy deposits off the East Coast of the United States. While I would be willing to go further, at least this is a step in the right direction. Congratulations, Mr. President! You got one right.
As always, if you have concerns or comments or wish to inquire about legislative issues, feel free to contact my offices. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.