'We have to reel this president in'
by Greg Corombos
House Republicans plan to push the immigration funding fight into next spring, when the GOP will control all of Capitol Hill, but one departing House member says lawmakers need to act more decisively to block President Obama’s executive order on immigration.
On Nov. 20, Obama signed an executive order removing the threat of deportation for illegal immigrants whose children have legal status in the U.S. Official estimates suggest the orders would impact five million people, but other experts believe the number will be much higher.
On Tuesday, House Republicans charted a multi-layered response in advance of the debate over government funding after Dec. 11. The GOP plans to fund most federal government operations through the end of Fiscal Year 2015 but fund immigration enforcement programs only until early next year. At that time, with majorities in both the House and Senate, Republicans hope to deny funding for Obama’s executive order and render it effectively meaningless. In addition, House Republicans are advancing legislation to overturn the order.
The plan is attracting quite a bit of support from GOP lawmakers, but others insist it simply is not aggressive enough.
“I don’t agree with that approach,” said Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga. “I think we ought to have a very short continuing resolution that goes just through January, that includes limitation language that keeps the president from putting in this unconstitutional executive action in place.”
Broun decided not to run for re-election in 2014. Instead, he sought the GOP U.S. Senate nomination in Georgia but lost in the primary. His time in the House will end when the new Congress is sworn in next month.
As one of his final acts, Broun said Republicans need to set the stage for their House and Senate majorities to take bold action early next year.
“We need to have a very short-term CR, so that in early January a Republican Senate and a Republican House can actually put good Republican plans in place (and) good Republican policy in place to stop this runaway imperial presidency,” Broun said. “He’s acting like a dictator, and it must stop. We have to reel this president in. He’s acting in a very unprecedented way.”
On Tuesday, the House Homeland Security Committee grilled Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson over Obama’s executive order. Much of the hearing consisted of Republicans blasting the president for allegedly changing immigration law on his own when it should be the work of Congress. Johnson insisted Obama had not created any new laws but was simply operating within existing laws.
Broun finds the administration’s argument ridiculous.
“It’s illegal. It’s unconstitutional and it should not stand. Congress has the opportunity to stop it, and we must do so,” he said. “Secretary Johnson is an apologist for the president. He’s
going to promote whatever his boss, President Obama, says that he should be promoting.”
In addition to believing that Obama’s actions are clearly unconstitutional, Broun also rejects the administration’s contention that the executive actions will be a step in solving the nation’s immigration problems. On the contrary, the congressman said it will only make many aspects of illegal immigration much worse.
“What they’re opening up is a door, in my opinion, for much more illegal migration into this country. We’re going to see a tremendous amount of fraud put forward,” he said, referring to forged documents for both future illegals and those about to receive legal status.
“Every single one of them not only breaks immigration laws, but every single one of them breaks multiple other laws. They all have documentation that is fraudulent, so they’re all guilty of fraud. Then when they have the opportunity to get a legal work permit or do something that will provide them some source of standing legally in this country, we’re going to see that much more fraud,” Broun explained. “Jeh Johnson cannot answer those questions, and he will not because there are no answers to them.”
When considering the constitutional issues and the pragmatic effects of Obama’s executive order, Broun said Republicans have no choice but to fight relentlessly to stop him.
“What the president has done is absolutely against the law. It’s against the Constitution,” he said. “The president does not have the authority to do so, and Congress needs to call his hand and hold him responsible.”
Broun is preparing to leave Congress after seven-and-a-half years in office. He was a surprise winner of a special election to replace the late Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Ga. He quickly established a reputation as one of the most conservative members in the House and clashed with leaders in his own party on numerous occasions.
Although he spent many years as a doctor prior to his foray into politics, Broun said he will continue devoting his time to the issues he cares about most deeply.
“I stood firm for the American people, for liberty and the Constitution as the Founding Fathers meant it,” he said. “We have to return to the founding
principles that both parties have been destroying. Both political parties have created government that’s just totally out of control. It’s spending money that we don’t have, and both political parties are guilty of creating this debt that’s unsustainable.
“As I leave Congress, I’m looking for an opportunity to make a living as well as to stay in the fight for liberty and freedom and returning to those foundational principles. We have to return power to the states and to the people as the 10th Amendment demands, and I’m going to stay in that fight.”