Boehner – Does He Mean What He Says?

The immediate aftermath of President Obama’s announced immigration reform changes has boggled the minds of any logic driven person. John Boehner has been particularly indignant in his criticism, almost to the point of stammering. Obama has “poisoned the well”, “stuck his finger in the eye of the people’s House”, and “hurt the office of President itself”. Well why hasn’t the House already taken action?  Hmmm.

It is true that Boehner is in a tough spot. He uttered remarks weeks ago aimed at discouraging President Obama from taking this action. So to just let the issue pass would not be the signal Boehner would want to send.

Boehner also has some odd caucus members. This group endorsed shutting down the government and has recommended impeaching the President. This group’s views while out of step with most of America are well received in their home districts. Boehner’s problem, how to keep these (dare I say) extremists in line?

The plain facts are that the Senate passed a bi-partisan compromise immigration reform bill in 2013 and the GOP controlled House never brought the bill to the floor of discussion or vote. The House (or as Boehner says, the People’s House) chose not to act upon immigration reform. So does Boehner mean that the President needs to wait until the House is ready to act, or does he mean the President needs to wait until Boehner can get control of his extremist faction?

Those who claim that the President does not have the Constitutional powers to take these executive actions are mistaken. The House does have, however, the option of “defunding” the government agencies charged with enforcing Obama’s executive actions but that may prove far more difficult than it sounds.

The House has regularly said they wished to pursue immigration reform in a series of independent steps. The President has said “pass a bill” and replace the need for his actions. The GOP now finds itself in a tough spot. If it passes a piecemeal size reform bill, then President Obama can leave in place those parts of his order that the GOP bill does not cover.

If the House does pass a comprehensive bill, then the President must decide whether it is fair enough to sign and not veto. If he signs, this would represent real progress.  If the President vetoes the bill, then until a new bill is presented his executive orders remain in effect.

If, on the other hand, the House “hoots and hollers” and does nothing, Hispanics will have another chance to express their views in the 2016 Presidential election. Hmmm.

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2 Comments on “Boehner – Does He Mean What He Says?”

  1. Gary Sparks Says:

    The Executive Powers have been trending toward more like a monarchy since the middle of the twentieth century. To allow the President to make major decisions without the support of the Congress is going beyond the design of the Constitution in which the President was sworn to protect.


    • Gary, thanks for leaving these thoughts… You raise a valid concern.

      I also wonder if you have considered that Boehner did not need to use the rhetoric that he did. He could put forth an immigration reform bill. The bill could range from a restatement of the status quo, that is continuance of the broken system we have now, or he could propose some or all the reforms necessary to “fix” the current situation. Boehner can propose immigration reform now or in the new year…

      There would be consequences of course. If the GOP were to reject comprehensive reform, the Hispanic US citizens might vote their minds in 2016… If the GOP did propose a sweeping reform, they could be beneficiaries too.

      IMO, the real messages here were the GOP (1) has no idea as a group how to go forward, (2) are thankful that President Obama has done something they can be against, and (3) it is highly unlikely the GOP will propose any reforms before 2016.

      We shall see.


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