By Representative Lynn Jenkins
Stopping Overreaching Executive Orders
As part of his "We Can't Wait" campaign strategy, President Obama has stated his intention to bypass the legislative process and further expand his use of Executive Orders. To combat this power grab and constitutional side-step, this week I introduced legislation designed to curtail overreaching Executive Orders. House Concurrent Resolution 98 expresses the sense of the House that any Executive Order that would require Federal spending has no binding effect until it is enacted into law through a normal legislative process.
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution provides Congress with the authority to make laws, and Section 9 provides it the authority to appropriate funds to operate the Federal government. The founding fathers created three branches of Government with a strong representative legislature for good reason. No President should be allowed to simply ignore the Constitution no matter how inconvenient they find it.
The House has passed over thirty jobs bills designed to help American small business owners create jobs and get our economy moving again, but the Senate has refused to take most them up and the President hasn't even come to the table. If President Obama is truly concerned with ending Washington gridlock, rather than side-stepping the people's representatives in Congress and disregarding the Constitution he swore to uphold and defend, he should call Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and ask him to allow the Senate to consider the many reforms that have already received bipartisan approval in the House of Representatives.
Repealing the CLASS Act Portion of Obamacare
There are not many areas where Former Kansas Governor and current Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and I agree, but one thing we do agree on is that the CLASS Act portion of the President's Health Care package is completely unviable and must be stopped. That is why, I was so glad to hear Secretary Sebelius backtracked on her prior support and pulled the plug on the program in November and why I supported a statutory repeal of the CLASS Act earlier this week.
The CLASS Act was designed as a new national entitlement for purchasing community-living assistance services, and was used by Sebelius and the President as a "pay for" to substantiate their faulty claim that Obamacare was going to reduce the deficit. However, as I and many others pointed out at the time, the deficit reduction claim was bogus and based on budget gimmicks that proved false when HHS began implementation.
The CBO can only project the cost of bills in a ten year budget window, so the Obama Administration used a budget "trick' by setting up the CLASS Act to begin collecting premiums in 2012 but not paying out benefits until 2017. This budget gimmick led CBO to report that the program would reduce the deficit, but it certainly doesn't take a CPA to realize that these initial "savings' cannot be sustained over time.
The CLASS Act is yet another piece of the Obamacare puzzle to crumble under real scrutiny, and it is essential that Congress repeals this failed portion of the healthcare overhaul, so it does not remain on the Government's books. This week, the House did just that as I was joined by a bi-partisan majority of the House in voting to repeal this fiscally unsustainable program. While we anxiously await the Supreme Court's decision on the constitutionality of Obamacare's individual mandate, I will continue doing everything I can to repeal and replace this flawed legislation with true, responsible, cost-effective reforms to our health care system.