Republicans are firing at President Obama for his recess appointments of chief bureaucrats this week. The Washington Times reports the Republican response as decrying “unconstitutional power grabs.”
Pushing the limits of his recess appointment powers, President Obama on Wednesday bypassed the Senate to install three members of the National Labor Relations Board and a director for the controversial new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - moves Republicans said amounted to unconstitutional power grabs.
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says Obama ”arrogantly circumvented the American people.” he denounced the president for breaking Congressional precedent, including that which he himself formerly promoted:
The president acted just a day after the Senate held a session, albeit a pro forma one without any business transacted.
Senators from both parties – including Democrats in 2007 and 2008, whenMr. Obama was in the Senate - have said it takes a recess of at least three days before the president can use his appointment powers.
McConnell sees this as more than just a mater of tradition: “Breaking from this precedent lands this appointee in uncertain legal territory, threatens the confirmation process and fundamentally endangers the Congress‘ role in providing a check on the excesses of the executive branch,” he said.
This response from Congressional Republicans comes just weeks after they themselves used dirty power-play tactics to prevent their own TEA-party leaning members from stopping passage of a 1200-page spending compromise. Obama is sure to be swayed by their current display of moral outrage.
Obama’s larger outlook on his powers should be the focus here rather than just the three appointments themselves. His justification of the move resembles a defiant dictator who will not abide by any law which conflicts with his agenda:
“I refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer,” Mr. Obama said in Shaker Heights, drawing applause from his audience. “When Congress refuses to act and as a result hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them.”
Compare the Inaugural statements from Obama’s socialist forerunner, FDR:
But in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis—broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.
At least FDR had a Great Depression on hand, and even then he at least made the promise to “ask the Congress” first.