Rep. Kelly Blasts ‘Chilling’ Imperial Presidency on House Floor

Rep. Kelly Blasts ‘Chilling’ Imperial Presidency on House Floor


House passes legislation co-sponsored by Rep. Kelly to rein in President Obama’s executive action overreach


WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – delivered remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives today in support of two pieces of legislation of which he is a co-sponsor: H.R. 4138, the Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments of (ENFORCE) the Law Act, and H.R. 3973, the Faithful Execution of the Law Act of 2014. H.R. 4138 was passed by the House by a bipartisan vote of 233-181. H.R. 3973 will be considered tomorrow. [UPDATE: H.R. 3973 was passed on 3/13/14 by a bipartisan vote of 238-174.]

Highlights from Rep. Kelly’s remarks:

“The ‘Take Care’ clause: to ‘take Care’ and faithfully execute the laws that are passed. This is about standing statute. In fact, this is the centerpiece of the president’s whole presidency. [Yet President Obama is] choosing what will be enforced and what will not be enforced.”

“The Take Care Clause, also known as the ‘Faithful Execution Clause,’ was actually derived from Pennsylvania’s 1776 Constitution, crafted by Pennsylvania’s state executives during the Revolutionary War. And I want you to just let your mind drift back to when people left Europe to come to America. They got in rickety old wooden boats with not very good ‘nav’ systems, but they came here for a reason. They set their course true north. They were also coming to get away from a monarchy. They were coming to get away from an imperialist. They were getting away from tyrants. Why did they come here? And what did they craft? It is so carefully laid out in our Constitution. … This is who we are. This is who we are not as Republicans and Democrats, but who are as Americans. Why would we turn our back on our Constitution?"

“I understand the executive office has great power. But I also understand that the Constitution harnesses that. It does not allow it to run roughshod over the people. … Mr. Duncan [R-SC] very clearly talked [earlier on the House floor] about the State of the Union where the president said to this body: ‘America cannot stand still and neither will I. So whenever and whatever steps I can take, without legislation … that is what I’m going to do.” That is chilling, and to have people give him a standing ovation — and not just a standing ovation, but from the House of Representatives where that very power is being taken from.”

“You cannot take that pledge and then turn around and say this [legislation] is just about some kind of political maneuvering. That is not about political maneuvering. That is about the protection of our Constitution. These things have been enshrined for us. This is critical that we look at this. The executive cannot make exceptions and just enforce the laws he or she wants. That’s not who we are as a people. We left monarchs, we left tyrants, to come here. This is a government by the people, for the people, and of the people. If we ever forget that’s what our job is as members of the House of Representatives, then what are we doing here?”

“I would just ask my colleagues on the other side, please take a look at this. This is very chilling. Listen, you may like where the president is taking us, I may not like where the president is taking us, but … there’s a process that we all must follow. This is statute that is being trampled upon by an executive overreach that we have never seen before.”

“Can we not please return to those days and why those folks came here? What were they seeking? Freedom and Liberty. What have we allowed these people to do? Turn their backs on that and turn away from it and turn away from a Constitution that over a million people have given their lives to make sure that we can have this today.”

NOTE: H.R. 4138, the Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments of (ENFORCE) the Law Act, would put a procedure in place to permit the House, or the Senate, to authorize a lawsuit against the Executive Branch for failure to faithfully execute the laws. H.R. 3973, the Faithful Execution of the Law Act, would require the Attorney General to report to Congress whenever any federal official decides to stop enforcing any law, regardless of whether it is being done on Constitutional or policy grounds.

UPDATE: On Thursday, July 31, 2014, the House voted to rein-in President Obama's unlawful changing of laws without Congress by approving litigation against him. The system of checks and balances within our Constitution is far too precious and far too important to maintaining the freedom of our republic for any president to ever ignore or diminish. Speaker Boehner was left with no other option than to introduce H. Res. 676, a resolution to sue President Obama for his breach of authority. You can read more about it here.