On the 28th of January, 2014, President Barack Obama promised to take action against Congress and the wishes of the American people, which will result in an executive overreach of power. For the past two weeks, President Obama has stated that he “has a paper and pen” that will be used to help the American people where Congress will not act. The President is a part of the Executive Branch, not the Legislative Branch. A President can only do so much in legislation before Congress or the Supreme Court overrules his authority, and the next President can easily overturn the legislative decisions made by his predecessor. This is how our Constitutional Republic works, if the President is having problems with his agenda, he needs to work with the opposite party as Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton did when they faced gridlock within the legislative branch.
During his State of the Union, President Obama declared that he “is willing to work with all” of Congress, but immediately reinforced his position of taking executive action. While so far President Obama has taken less executive action than his two predecessors, his new push for more legislation through executive actions leave many worried he has too much power, and what he plans on doing is illegal. This made many Republicans feel that the President would prefer executive action over trying to work deals out with Republicans in the House. Many Republicans, including Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Senator Mike Lee of Utah, and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, have all expressed disappointment with the State of the Union Address, mentioning that the President failed to truly address the Union and its people. While the hour-long speech by the President focused on many key issues, Republicans have specifically targeted his promise of executive overreach and some continue to attack his key legislative failure; the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The 2014 midterm elections are right around the corner, and with the failure of the Affordable Care Act, he fears that his job could be in jeopardy. He is making an extremely calculated, but extremely dangerous move on his political chessboard; take matters into his own hands and bypass the Congress. If he is lucky, his overreach will be ignored by the American people because of Obamacare’s promised repair, job growth, debts repaid, and stocks to continue rising. If he is unlucky, the people will understand the amount of overreach he has, and whether the effects of his promise are good or ill, they will call to replace him and his Democratic colleagues in November of this year. The next three years all ride on the planning and execution of Obama’s agenda, what he will and will not use executive action for.
Mr. Obama appears to be afraid of Congress and wanting to be rid of it. The only times throughout his presidency he has achieved anything through legislation was when his party controlled both houses of Congress. Since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 2010, his agenda has been stuck. This puts the President in this difficult position, and, after three years of gridlock and no leverage gained in the 2012 midterms, he feels he has to take control.
Editorial By Michael McGee