Today, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a full committee hearing entitled, "Enforcing the President's Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws." After the hearing concluded, Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) delivered the following statement:
Throughout the course of United States history, Presidents have exercised their constitutional authority to undertake executive actions. The Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order issued by President Lincoln; President Truman integrated the armed forces through executive order; President Johnson ensured equal employment opportunity in federal contracting through executive order. These actions were appropriate, historic, and most importantly: constitutional.
I am deeply disappointed that my Republican colleagues squandered important Committee time with a partisan hearing as the people's work languishes. However, I am equally frustrated by the numerous misstatements - too numerous to mention them all here - that my conservative colleagues made throughout the hearing, primarily leveled against the Affordable Care Act and "DREAMers'. For instance, my colleagues repeatedly stated that the President gave a blanket group waiver to DREAMers. In reality, the exact opposite occurred, as President Obama's deferred action required each DREAMer to undergo an individual determination and pay a $500 fee before receiving a deferral. Further, contrary to my colleague's claims on the Affordable Care Act, the President is exercising appropriate prosecutorial discretion in providing transitional relief to address practical difficulties in implementing the complex law by allowing for appropriate regulations to be developed and allowing key stakeholders to prepare for the historic healthcare reform.
Unquestionably, Congress has the authority and the responsibility to ensure that the President acts within constitutional limits. That is part of Congress's job. Unfortunately, the hearing today was little more than political theater. With unemployment at an unacceptably high level, immigration reform on the ropes, and countless other issues unresolved, I call on my colleagues to return their focus to the many legitimate problems facing our country."