Republican congressman Bob Goodlatte and Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra joined Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, this morning to debate Obama’s executive overreach and House Speaker John Boehner’s recent lawsuit against the Obama administration to address the problem. Wallace, in no mood for the rote left wing talking points Becerra was spouting, ended up doing a lot of the heavy lifting for Goodlatte, who barely go a word in edgewise..
After listing several executive actions Obama has taken without Congressional approval, Wallace turned to Becerra and asked, “What is the president’s legal authority to take all of these unilateral actions without going back to Congress?”
Becerra tried to argue that because all of the actions taken by Obama were (arguably) popular, that means the American public approves of the executive overreach. “The list you showed are all things the American public wants to see,” he said.
Becerra then tried to explain how the president decided to take action since Congress wasn’t doing “its job.” This prompted the Fox host to cut him off before he finished his statement to state that the Constitution does not grant power based on popularity.
“The Constitution does not say ‘Hey if its popular, you can exceed your authority.’ It’s kind of irrelevant,” Wallace said over a razzled Becerra.
Becerra restored his composure and went on to focus on the issue of raising the minimum wage for federal contractors as a justifiable action for the president. This didn’t satisfy Wallace and he repeated his original question that he felt Becerra was sidestepping.
“What is his legal authority for taking this action without going back to Congress?” Wallace repeated.
“The president has the authority — as the executive — to implement the laws,” Becerra answered. “If there is a law that says that we will pay a federal contractor money, the president can say ‘ok federal contractors, you can’t gouge your workers because you’re getting federal taxpayer money to do the work.”
Wallace quickly shot back “But is he implementing the law?”
“Absolutely, he’s implementing the law,” the California congressman responded.
“Or is he rewriting the law?” Wallace prodded.
“No, he’s not rewriting it because he is simply implementing it,” Becerra said.
Sometime around 2017 or 2018, we may get a definitive ruling from the Supreme Court on that question. But of course, by then – it won’t matter.