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Curbing power

Do you think Barack Obama is overstepping his legal authority by unilaterally changing parts of ObamaCare? If you ask Americans how they feel about Obama bypassing Congress, the answer is clear: Americans do not believe this is the way things are supposed to work and they do not approve of Obama doing so.

Beyond how we feel about the issue, it's spelled out plainly in our Constitution the proper role of the executive and the legislature, yet Obama continues to blur the two.

Over the weekend, Democratic congressman Xavier Becerra took the argument to a new level. He argued that Obama's executive orders are warranted because it is the president's job to act when Congress won't and in cases of national emergency.

The exchange with Fox News' Chris Wallace went something like this (transcript from the Daily Caller):

WALLACE: If I may sir, when the healthcare law says it will begin after December 31, 2013, isn’t that pretty specific?

BECERRA: It WILL begin after December 2013.

WALLACE: Yeah but, now it’s 2016!

BECERRA: Well the president said we’ll start it after 2013, but we’re going to make sure it works well for small businesses. And the fact is — what he’s trying to do is make things work. When Congress can’t pass bills, when Congress shuts down the government, the president can’t just sit there! What he’s saying is –

WALLACE: Well, yeah. That’s the way the Constitution’s written. The president’s just supposed to sit there.

BECERRA: No, he — is just supposed to sit there? If we have an emergency the president is just supposed to sit there? If we’re under national security attack –

WALLACE: Well, we’re not talking about an emergency with ObamaCare.

BECERRA: But you never know if something might happen, if we just sort of –

WALLACE: We’re not talking about a foreign threat here, sir.

BECERRA: I would hope that we would never have a chief executive who would twiddle his thumbs because Congress can’t get its act together. We need to move! We need to move.

Is this what we've come to – likening ObamaCare to a national security attack as a way to justify his need to act?

There is movement now among House Republicans to sue the Obama administration for its executive overreach. According to The Hill, “The 'Stop This Overreaching Presidency (STOP)' measure, introduced by Rep. Tom Rice (S.C.), now has 104 co-sponsors, including Senate GOP hopeful Reps. Jack Kingston (Ga.), James Lankford (Okla.), Steve Stockman (Texas), Paul Broun (Ga.), Steve Daines (Mont.) and Phil Gingrey (Ga.).” We'll see whether the growing power of the presidency can be curbed through legal means such as this.