tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN July 30, 2014 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT
he house will come to order. he house will come to order. the chair would ask all present to rise for the purpose of a moment of silence. the chair asks that the house now observe a moment of silence in remembrance of our brave men and women in uniform who have given their lives in the service of our nation in iraq and afghanistan. and their families. and to all who serve in our armed forces and their
amilies. without objection, five-minute votes will continue. the question is on adoption of the resolution. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. >> mr. speaker. ms. slaughter: i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yantse are -- the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote, the yeas are 227, the nays are 196. the resolution is adopted. without objection a motion to reconsider is laid on the table. the unfinished business is the vote on the motion of the gentleman from florida, mr. miller, to suspend the rules and adopt the conference report on h.r. 3230, on which the yeas and nays were ordered. the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 3230, an act making continuing appropriations during a government shutdown to proo provide pay and allowances to members of the reserve components of the armed forces who perform inact i have duty training during such period. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and adopt the
conference report. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote, the yeas are 220, the nays are 5, without objection the ruleses d are suspended, the conference report is agreed to and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> i send to the desk a concurrent resolution. and ask unanimous consent for its immediate consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the concurrent resolution. the clerk: house concurrent resolution 111, concurrent resolution directing the clerk of the house of representatives to make certain corrections in the enrollment of the bill h.r.
3230. the speaker pro tempore: is there objection to the consideration of the concurrent resolution? without objection the concurrentres. solution agreed to and the motion to reconsider s laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seeng recognition? mr. miller: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks insert extraneous material on the concurrent resolution just adopted. the speaker pro tempore: is there objection? ithout objection, so ordered.
the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. sessions: mr. speaker, pursuant to house resolution 694rks i call up house resolution 676 and ask for its immediate consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the resolution. the clerk: house calendar number 129, house resolution 676, resolution providing for authority to initiate litigation for actions by the president or other executive
branch officials inconsist ebt with their duties under -- inconsistent with their duties under the constitution of the united states. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 694, the resolution as amended is considered read. the gentleman from texas, mr. sessions, and the gentlelady from new york, ms. slaughter, will each control 30 minutes. he house will be in order. the house will be in order. i'd ask members to take their conversations out of the aisles and off the floor. he house will be in order.
i would ask members to take their conversations off the floor and out of the aisles. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. sessions: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and to include extraneous material on consideration of h.res. 676. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. sessions: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for as much time as he may consume. the gentleman will suspend. he house will be in order.
the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. sessions: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i rise today to discuss the unwarranted ongoing shift of power in favor of the executive branch. under president obama, the executive branch has increasingly gone beyond the constraints of the constitution . in fact, in a number of instances, the president's actions have gone beyond his article 2 powers to enforce the law and have infringed upon article 1 powers of the congress to write the law. mr. speaker, we're still -- i ask for you to have regular order. the speaker pro tempore: the ouse will be in order.
the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. sessions: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, we are here today because at the beginning of this congress, every member of this body took an oath of office in which we swore to, and i quote, support and defend the constitution of the united states, end of quote. at the beginning of each presidential term, the president takes note to, and i quote, faithfully ex culet the office of the president of the united states -- execute the office of the president of the united states and to the best of their ability preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states, end of quote. while these oaths are slightly different, the object of each oath is the same. the president and members of congress have an obligation to follow and defend the constitution. the text of the constitution that we have sworn to defend provides separate powers for
each branch of the federal government. article 1 puts the power to legislate, that is to write the law, to the hands of congress. article 2 on the other hand requires that the president, quote, take care that the laws are faithfully executed, end of quote. the difference is important. mr. speaker, the house is not n order. the speaker pro tempore: the chair would ask members to take their conversations off the floor and out of the aisles. on the majority side, please take your conversations out of the aisle.
the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. sessions: thank you, mr. speaker. the difference is important. the founders knew that giving one branch the power to write and execute the law would be a direct threat to the liberties of the american people. they separated these powers between the branches in order to ensure that no one person or no one particular person, whether it be president or a body of congress, could trample upon the rights of the people. my fear is that our nation is currently facing the exact threat that the constitution is designed to avoid. branches of government have always attempted to exert their influence on the other branch. but the president has gone too far. rather than faithfully
executing the law as the constitution requires, i believe that the president has selectively enforced the law in some instances, ignored the law in other instances and in a few cases unilaterally attempted to change the law altogether. these actions have tilted the power away from the legislature and toward the executive. they have undermined the rule of law, which provides the predictability necessary to govern in a functioning and fair society. by and large, this country is founded upon the rule of law and this tilts that balance. by circumventing congress, the president's actions have marginalized the role that the american people play in creating the laws that govern
them. specifically, the president has waived work requirements for welfare recipients, unilaterally changed immigration laws, released the gitmo five without properly notifying congress, which is the law, and ignored the statutory requirements of the affordable care act. we have chosen to bring this legislation forth today, to sue the president over his selective implementation of the affordable care act, because it is the option most likely to clear the legal hurdles necessary to succeed and to restore the balance between the branches intended by the founders. this administration has effectively rewritten the law without following the constitutional process. when the executive branch goes beyond the constitution and infringes upon the powers of
the legislative branch, it is important that the remaining branch of government play its role in rebalancing this important separation of powers. after all, the constitutional limits on government power are meaningless unless judges engage with the constitution and enforce those limits. my friends in the minority do not seem to believe that judiciary is up to their role in rebalancing the separation of powers. i disagree. yesterday at the rules committee, members of the minority argued that this lawsuit is frivolous and a waste of time. they argued that if this litigation were to go forward, that it will lead to countless lawsuits between the branches of government. what my friends in the minority might fail to tell you, but i will today on the floor, is that they were for suing the
president before they were against it. eight years ago, in 2006, some members of the minority, including the ranking member of the rules committee, the gentlewoman from new york, were plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by congressional democrats against then sitting george w. bush. that's right. eight years ago my friends across the aisle filed a lawsuit against the president brought by members of one half of the congress. the democratic ranking member of the judiciary committee, the gentleman from michigan, who was also a plaintiff, argued that he was alarmed by the erosion of our constitutional form of government and by a president who shrugged about the law. after consulting with some of the foremost constitutional experts in the nation, he said he had determined that there was one group of people who were injured by the president's
lack of respect for checks and balances, the house of representatives. i want to echo one line he argued at the time regarding the separation of powers, and i quote, if a president does not need one house of congress to pass the law, what's next? perhaps this makes sense. mr. speaker, i would ask unanimous consent to insert in the record an editorial from "the huffington post" on april 26, 2006, by the ranking member of the judiciary committee, the gentleman from michigan, titled, "taking the president to court" in which he made a compelling argument why members of the house could in fact have standing to sue the president. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, it will be part of the record. mr. sessions: mr. speaker, the litigation considered think about resolution is a lot different and a lot stronger than litigation filed by my friends on the other side against a previous president. the majority of these lawsuits were brought by a small group
of legislators or individual members. today the house as an institution will vote to authorize the suit which gives this case, i believe, a far better chance in court than previous attempts. my friends in the minority at the rules committee yesterday claimed that this is all about politics. but republican members of this committee repeatedly insisted that we disagree. the issue is not about partisan politics, it is not about republicans and democrats. this lawsuit is about the legislative branch's standing -- branches standing up to the laws that have been passed and signed into law by the legislative and signed by the executive of this great nation. republicans are motivated to stand up for the constitution, the separation of power, and the rule of law. any person who believes in our system of government should be worried about the president's executive overreach.
the president, as well as future presidents, from either party, must not be allowed to ignore the constitution and to circumvent congress. both republicans and democrats have stood up for the legislative branch in the past. in fact, there have been 44 lawsuits filed in the last 75 years in which legislators sought standing in federal court. of the 41 filed by plaintiffs rom a single party, nearly 70% were democrats representing the body. i would like to ask unanimous consent to insert into the record an editorial by kimberly straussle from the "wall street journal" dated july 17, 2014, that further explains why the democrats were suing the president before they were against it. and i call upon my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stand up for congress and to defend our constitution against the executive branch. the speaker pro tempore:
without objection, the article will be in the record. mr. sessions: mr. speaker, throughout this lawsuit, the united states house of representatives took a critical and crucial step in reining in the president, to defend the constitution, so that it will endure for yet another generation. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas reserves his time. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from new york. ms. slaughter: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from new york is recognized for as much time as she may consume. ms. slaughter: thank you. mr. speaker, across the country conservative thinkers and legal scholars are discrediting this lawsuit against the president. they're exposing it for what it is, a political stunt timed to peak in november as americans are heading to the polls for the midterm elections. for example, harvard law professor -- professor and former assistant attorney general under president george w. bush wrote, and i quote, the lawsuit will almost certainly
fail and should fail for lack of congressional standing, end quote. even supreme court justice scalia, joined by chief justice roberts and chief justice thomas, wrote that the frase framers of the constitution emphatically rejected a, quote, system in which congress and the executive can pop immediately into court. in their institutional capacity, whenever the president implements a law in a manner that is not to congress' liking, end quote. . andrew c. mccarthy wrote recently that this lawsuit is a, quote, classic case of assuming the polls of meaningful action while in reality doing nothing, end quote. heaven's to betsy, how much more do we have to hear that this will not work? a recent poll by cnn found that 57% of americans oppose the
lawsuit. yes, the american -- majority of the american people recognize it for what it is, political theater. they recognize this lawsuit as not only distraction from the real problems that plague our nation but it is designed to appease radical republicans clamoring for impeachment. the rules committee, which i am ranking member, was the only committee to consider this lawsuit. under regular order of the house, -- under regular order, the house administration committee would have also held hearings and a markup because they are the money committee that handles the house's internal accounts. but they were not given a chance to do so. over the past three weeks, the rules committee heard testimony from constitutional scholars, debated the merits of the lawsuit and offered several amendments. the minority on other committee offered nearly a dozen amendments aimed at bringing some transparency and
accountability to this process, and they were all voted down along party lines. democrats offered an amendment that would have required that this political stunt be funded from the benghazi select committee's budget, another political stunt. after the 14 investigations of benghazi tragedy, they have allocated $3.3 million to continue to chase after a nonexistent scandal. we offered an amendment that would have ensured that any law firms contracted for this lawsuit were not also lobbyists trying to influence us at the same time that they represent us in court, a clear conflict of interest. we even offered an amendment that would have required disclosure of which programs and budgets in the federal budget will be reduced to pay for the lawsuit. would the fund comes from the veterans' affairs committee, the house armed services committee? we don't know because the majority has refused to tell us.
before they vote today, members of this house deserve to know exactly which legislative branch functions will be curtailed to pay for this folly. otherwise, how can we cast an informed vote? we focused our amendments on cost because how important cost it is, it is not, as has been stated here, an imaginary concern. republicans have wasted hundreds of billions of dollars in this month alone, passing ver $700 billion, with a b, of unpaid-for tax extenders on this house floor. republicans took $24 billion, b, out of the economy when they shut down the government to deny health care to millions. and according to "cbs news," the majority has wasted over $79 million on the more than 50 votes from the house floor to dismantle, to undermine and repeal the affordable care act.
where in the world does it stop? when republicans defended the discriminatory defense of marriage act and employed outside counsel in a similar lawsuit, we believe this will have, it cost the american taxpayers $2.3 million. we learned their lawyers hour, $520 an hour, an at that rate they would have been paid $1 million a year for a 40-hour workweek. so what will this lawsuit cost, mr. speaker? that's what we want to know. the minority requested this said a ion and they lawsuit is a, quote, small price to pay, end quote. we could be investing in our education system, making to easier for our children to go to college, even build some high-speed rail. we are the only country after the war that doesn't have any.
addressing climate change. we had a terrible flood in my district next door where they lost sewer systems, water systems. we could be doing so many other things than simply throwing this money away. the idea of fiscal tightness is absolutely decimated in just what i have already said at this time. the money wasted here with nothing for it when the needs are so great and the population cries out for relief. but instead of investing in our country, the majority insists on bringing a lawsuit that if successful will do opposite of everything they have been trying to accomplish since 2010. yes, after years of rallying against the affordable care act, not a one of them would vote for it as it passed the house, voting to derail it, working against it, believing -- pay attention here. they are suing the president for not implementing it fast
enough. if that makes no sense to you, you are not alone. we don't understand it either. not only is this logic upside down and inside out, it's directly against the feelings of members of their own party. a recent poll from the commonwealth fund found that 77% of people were pleased with their new coverage. republicans themselves have a 74% satisfaction rate with the new plans that they bought. now, before us we have a lawsuit that's been ridiculed and railed against by conservative thinkers and progressives alike. it's a deplorable waste to taxpayer funds and goes against everything that republicans have been working for for four years. the republicans i worked with in this congress when i first came here would not even think of this. and mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from new york reserves her time. the gentleman from texas. mr. sessions: thank you very much, mr. speaker. at this time i'd like to yield
four minutes to the gentleman, the chairman of the judiciary committee, chairman goodlatte. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for four minutes. mr. goodlatte: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman from texas, the chairman of the rules committee, for his leadership on this issue. without enforcement of the law, there cannot be accountability under law, and political accountability is essential to a functioning democracy. we in the house of representatives who face re-election every two years under the constitution are perhaps reminded of that more often than others. and while there is at least one political branch willing to enforce the law, we will not fail to act through whatever means of which we can successfully avail ourselves. when the president fails to perform his constitutional duty that he take care that the laws be faithfully executed, the congress has appropriations and other powers over the president. but none of those powers can be
exercised if a senate, controlled by the president's own political party, refuses to exercise them. nor will the exercise of those powers solve the problems at hand because they will not actually require the president to faithfully execute the laws. and of course, the most powerful and most available means of solving the power at hand, in the meantime, however, the need to pursue the establishment of clear principles of political accountability is of the essence. earlier this year, i joined with representative gowdy to introduce h.r. 4138, the enforce the law act, to put a procedure in place for congress to initiate litigation against the executive branch for failure to faithfully execute the laws. but while that legislation passed the house with bipartisan support, the senate has failed to even consider it. so today we consider a
resolution to authorize litigation by the house to restore political accountability and enforce the rule of law. although the case law standing may be murky, one thing is absolutely clear. the supreme court has never closed the door to the standing of the house as an institution. as president lincoln said, let reverence for the laws be enforced in courts of justice. it is the court's duty to to uphold reverence for the law and it is the specific duties of the courts to call fouls when the lines of -- fowls when the lines of constitutional authority under the separation of powers established by the constitution have been breached. a lawsuit by the house of representatives would grant no additional powers over the judicial branch over legislation. indeed, what a statute says or doesn't say would be ineffective but it would be the appropriate task of the for the courts to determine whether or not whatever a statute says a president can ig or or alter it
-- ignore or alter it under the constitution. the stakes are high. the lawsuit will challenge the president's failure to enforce key provisions of the law that has come to bear his name in the popular mind and was largely drafted in the white house. what provisions of obamacare have been enforced have not proved popular and what provisions the president has refused to enforce have been delayed until at least after the next federal election. how convenient for the president. yet, how devastating to accountability in our republic. imagine the future in this new unconstitutional power of the president if the president is left to stand. presidents today and in the future will be able to treat the entire united states code as mere guidelines and pick and choose among its provisions which to enforce and which to ignore. the current president has even created entirely new categories of businesses to apply his unilaterally imposed
exemptions. in that future, if a bill a president signed into law was later to be considered bad policy and potentially harmful to the president's political party if enforced, accountability for signing that policy into law could be avoided by simply delaying enforcement until a more litically opportune time, if at all. they wouldn't have to stand -- candidates wouldn't have to stand on their records. sign one bill into law, enforce another version of it -- the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. mr. sessions: mr. speaker, i'd like to give the young chairman one additional minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. goodlatte: sign one bill into law, enforce another version of it, repeat until the accumulation of power in the presidency is complete. we should all support this resolution today as it aims to unite 2/3 of the federal government in delivering a simple message, congress writes the laws and the president enforces them. our own constitutionally
required oath to support the constitution of the united states requires no less. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentlelady from new york. ms. slaughter: mr. speaker, i yield four minutes to the gentleman from maryland, the democratic whip, mr. hoyer. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized for four minutes. mr. hoyer: i thank the gentlelady for yielding and i rise in opposition to the bill that is before us. it is somewhat ironic that the republicans want to sue the president for enforcing -- not enforcing a law that they want to repeal. how ironic. but it is frankly a demonstration of their frustration that they had been unable politically to attain the objective that they seek. and they therefore repair to the wasting of time by this
congress and the wasting of the taxpayers' money on a hypocritical and partisan attack against the president. one that is meant to distract from the pressing issues of the day, like fixing our broken immigration system, raising the minimum wage or restoring emergency unemployment insurance for those seeking jobs. while the majority of americans oppose this lawsuit gimmick, house republicans continue to move ahead with it instead of acting on those policies and other critical legislation which the majority of the american public do support, make it in america jobs bills, export-import bank re-authorization, terrorism risk insurance, voting rights act amendments, continuing
resolutions and appropriation bills. all of these the american people want to see us do, but in polls they show they don't want us to be doing this. they think it's frivolous. they think it is without merit. they think it should not be done. all the bills that i referenced they think ought to be done. how sad it is that we come here and do things the american people thinks are a waste of time while not doing things americans think are very important. none other -- i tell my friend from texas, and he is my friend, none other than justice antonin scalia said that the judiciary traditionally hear cases of political disagreement between the other two branches. in fact, he said in united states vs. windsor, and i
quote, a system in which congress and the executive pop immediately into court in their institutional capacity whenever the president implements a law in a manner that is not to congress' liking. . scalia felt that was not justified. we believe this legislation is not justified. we further believe that the american people do not believe this legislation is justified. we do believe that the base of the republican party that tried to defeat president obama in 2012 voted against him in 2008 and disagreed with him on the issues think this is what is available to them. it is wrong. it is a waste of time. it is a waste of money. it is a distraction from the
important issues so important to our people. this lawsuit is nothing more than a partisan bill to rally the republican base and for some , for some, it doesn't go far enough. under president clinton, republicans' playbook was shut down and then impeach. under president obama said that if the affordable care act were not repealed, not that they wouldn't sue him, they said they would shut down the government if they didn't get their way. they didn't get their way and they shut down the government. could i have one additional minute? ms. slaughter: i yield the gentleman an additional minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hoyer: they threatened to shut down the government and they shut down the government and the american people said that's not what we want done. again, they come to this floor because they cannot achieve
through their political process the ends they seek. they have voted over 50 times to repeal or undermine the affordable care act. they do not want it implemented. now they want to sue the president because he's not implementing it fully and now they are suing and refusing to say that impeachment is off the table. in fact, their newly elected whip, mr. scalise, declined the opportunity to rule out impeachment on four separate occasions last weekend. my friends, instead of wasting time and money on the lawsuit and what might follow, congress ought to do what our constituents sent us here to do, reate jobs, invest in an economy where all of our people can work hard and make it in america.
reject this waste of time. te no on this unjustified, impractical, losing proposition. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from texas. mr. sessions: we heard revisionist history, but i will answer the question, the answer is years back we did impeach william jefferson clinton because he lied to an f.b.i. agent and lied to a federal grand jury and violated the federal law which was a felony. oh, by the way, that led to impeachment for a felony while in office of a sitting president. in this instance, the president of the united states is not faithfully executing the laws of the country and that is entirely different process and for the gentleman to suggest that is
going to lead to that is simply not true. i will tell you that president clinton violated the federal law as a felony and we believe that our president is not executing the laws and everybody can figure that out. i would like to yield four minutes to the gentleman from south carolina, member of homeland security and natural resources committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina is recognized for four minutes. >> thank you, mr. speaker. and i remind my colleague from maryland who just spoke that in my hum nl opinion harry reid shut down the government. let me explain to everyone watching at home across america what the separation of powers doctrine means. we study in school and since our president doesn't seem to get it and needs to be explained again. mr. duncan: our constitution says the legislative branch, this branch, we write the laws.
the president executes the laws and the courts settle any dispute. we write the laws and the president executes the laws and the courts settle dispute. our constitution says that the president doesn't get to write his own laws. our founding fathers knew that kings wielded power. they understood that too much power in one group or one person would lead to tyranny. as christian men of the day they understood that man has fallen and that fallen man, once they have a taste of power, they will always go after more. they knew that power crupts and absolute power crupts absolutely. the understanding of fallen man, there was a system of checks and balances and clearly delineated and separate powers divided among three equal branches of government. we write the laws, the president executes them. should be simple, right?
we are here today because the president has failed us in two directions. he failed to execute the laws we have written. he has rewritten the laws on his own and i believe that this is a breach of his oath of office to uphold the laws. so we are gathered here as the first branch, the legislative branch, to seek the judicial branch's help in bringing an out of control executive branch, plain and simple. we are here to bring legal action against the president of the united states to stop him from rewriting the affordable care act. that is a misnoemer. nothing affordable about the affordable care act and the american people know about it and that's a discussion for another day. from the individual mandate to businessman dates to h.h.s. regulations that were struck down by the supreme court to the decision just last week to exempt the u.s. territories, how many is that, four million people are exempt from obamacare
with just the action of the president's pen. time and time and time again we have seen this president rewrite the law. but rewriting obamacare isn't only one of the ways he has abused this power. look at the mess on the southern border, a mess of the president's own making thanks to his own making and the attempt to rewrite the law. last week, i sent the president 21 tweets which laid out the things that he could do to stop this mess at the border that are within the law and his purview and still he continues to operate outside the law and not just the border, it's d ompmmp a and nlrb and back-door cap and trade legislation and war on coal and waters of the united states, regulation after regulation, administrative action after administrative action and no basis. this administration has chosen
repeatedly to try to rewrite the laws without going through the legislative process which our founders set up. get a copy of the constitution and look at the separation of powers. this congress must use every power to restore balance to our government and uphold the rule of law. we voted repeatedly to use this power of the purse to cut off funding for unconstitutional activities within this administration. we have voted repeatedly to overturn bad regulations. we paced the rains act and i co-sponsored other efforts that repair our broken system of checks and balances in order to stop the overreaches of this administration. we must act today and we must continue to act until this administration and the president relent and gets it right. i thoroughly support this bill and take this president to court. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. sessions: i extend the gentleman 30 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized.
mr. duncan: i believe we need to take whatever steps are necessary to bring in this administration and hold them accountable to the united states constitution and to the citizens of the united states of america. the founding fathers gave us this recourse to restore the balance and uphold the rule of law. that is why this is so important. and for us to reassert our authority to make the law so he can entors the law. may god continue to bless this body and the men and women that serve this country and may god continue to bless the united states of america. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlelady from new york. ms. slaughter: i yield two minutes to the the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: i thank the gentlelady. and members of the house, as the former chairman of the house judiciary committee, i rise in strong opposition to house
resolution 676, which would authorize the speaker to file suit against the president of the united states for failing to enforce the affordable care act, which has been attacked more than 51 times unsuccessfully in the house. now, why? why do i oppose this serious, flawed measure? one, the fact that it addresses a nonexistent problem. two, that it violates constitutional requirements and fundamental separation of power principles. and three, that it diverts congress from focusing on truly critical matters that require prompt legislative responses.
i ask unanimous consent, mr. speaker, to include in the record a letter received only today signed by eight constitutional law scholars explaining the reasons why a lawsuit filed pursuant to house resolution 676 is likely to fail. without objection. the letters will be part of the record. mr. conyers: h.r. 676 seeks to solve a nonexistent problem because the president has, in fact, fully met his obligations o faithfully execute the laws. allowing flexibility in the implementation of a major new program even where the statute mandates a specific deadline is neither unusual nor a constitutional violation. indeed, in the case of the
affordable care act's employer mandate, the administration acted pursuant to statutory authorization granted to it by the congress. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from texas. mr. sessions: at this time, i would like to yield two minutes to the gentleman from georgia, dr. gingrey. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. gingrey: i rise today in support of h.res. 676, a resolution to authorize the house of representatives to initiate litigation against the president or any executive branch employee for failure to act in accordance with their duties. specifically, this resolution deal with the president's failure to implement the employee mandate required by his own signature law, the patient protection and affordable care act. while the scope of the
litigation authorizes is narrow, it is symbolic of a much larger problem, the president's continued refusal to execute the congress'ing to usurp constitutional right to legislate. simply because congress chooses not to be the president's rubber stamp does not bestow upon him the power to circumvent the law. conversely when the president says it might be politically perilous, he can't simply choose to ignore it. mr. speaker, this is not about party politics, this is about the proper role of government as defined by our founders. the federal government was intentionally designed with three branches, each with their own separate powers and the ability to serve as a check and balance on the other two. yet the president, as a former
constitutional law professor, refuses to recognize his proper le and unilaterally enacting policies or ignoring the law at will. i took an oath to uphold and defend the constitution as a member of this institution. and i have taken that oath seriously every single day. unfortunately, i believe the president's actions undermine the very same oath that he has twice taken. so i urge my colleagues, join me in this step to uphold the law and protect the balance of power by supporting the resolution. with that, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentlelady from new york. ms. slaughter: i yield two minutes to the the gentlewoman from florida, ms. wasserman schultz. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. wasserman schultz: i rise
this evening in strong opposition to this resolution that would propose to have the house sue the president of the united states. with only a few hours left before congress adjourns for the august district work period, we have a full plate of responsibilities left unfinished. when i go home, i doubt constituents will be running up to me for congress passing a resolution to sue the president. i know what i will hear. why hasn't the house passed come prepares i have immigration reform? why hasn't congress raised the minimum wage so people who work full-time don't repain in poverty? why haven't we renewed unemployment insurance for 3.5 million americans including veterans and the only answer i will be able to give them is that republican leadership cares more about scoring political points than they do about helping middle-class families. this is a question of priority.
the american people sent us here to face the pressing needs. it should be a given we would use our time to focus on the most important issues. instead, we waste time on suing the president of the united states while failing to address commonsense measures to ensure economic security for every american. not only does this resolution reflect a different set of priorities than the majority of americans, we are wasting millions of taxpayer dollars like the $3 million defending the unconstitutional defense of marriage act and billions of dollars shutting down the government. it is unconscionable when this do-nothing republican congress decided to do something, it is suing the president for doing his job when they refused to do theirs. i have heard too many in the republican majority raise impeachment. wastedopposition to this
resolution and join democrats and address the serious challenges facing our nation. with that, i yield back. . the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentlelady has expired. the gentleman from texas. mr. sessions: with that i yield one minute to the gentleman from ohio, the speaker of the house, mr. boehner. the speaker pro tempore: the speaker of the house is recognized for one minute. the speaker: i thank my colleague for yielding. i also want to thank the whole house for its work on -- to address the american people's concerns about jobs in our economy. all told we sent the senate now more than 40 jobs bills, almost all of them in a bipartisan way. from the first day of this congress, i said our focus would be on jobs and it has been. but on that first day, you may recall i addressed the house about the importance of our oath of office. i know that the same oath we all take that makes no mention of party, it makes no mention of faction or agenda.
the oath only refers to the constitution and our obligation to defend it. i said that with moments like this in mind, i said that knowing there would be times when we would have to do things we didn't come here to do. we didn't plan to do and things that require us to consider interests greater than our own interests. i have to think this is why on several occasions members of the minority party have taken a similar step. in 2011 some of them filed litigation against the vice president. they took similar steps in 2006, 2002, 2001 and so forth, because this isn't about republicans and democrats. it's about defending the constitution that we swore an oath to uphold and acting decisively when it may be compromised. no member of this body needs to
be reminded what the constitution states about the president's obligation to faithfully execute the laws of our nation. no member needs to be reminded of the bonds of trust that have been frayed or the damage that's already been done to our economy and to our people. are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change? are you willing to let anyone tear apart what our founders have built? think not only about the specific oath you took but think about how you took it, as one body standing together. that's all i'm asking to you do today, to act as one institution, to defend the constitution on behalf of the people that we serve. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time.
the gentlelady from new york. ms. slaughter: mr. speaker, i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from michigan, the distinguished ranking member of the committee on ways and means, mr. levin. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized for two minutes. without objection, so ordered. mr. levin: well, republicans oday are choosing lawsuits over legislating. they're choosing to sue the president rather than pursuing legislation to support american families. and there's no shortage of legislation awaiting action. immigration reform, a bipartisan senate bill held up by the speaker who has just spoken. unemployment insurance, a bipartisan senate bill has never gotten a vote in this house, held up by the speaker. the employment nondiscrimination bill, the senate bill not brought up here, held up by the speaker.
paycheck fairness not brought up. a minimum wage bill not brought up. -- im controversial controversy. highway bill, another patch. the inability of house republicans to face up to the need for a long-term highway bill. and a voting rights reform bill sponsored by a senior republican held up by the speaker of this house and the conference of the republicans. so the republicans in this house are suing the president because they coninjure -- conjure up what the republicans think is the correct implementation of a law they have tried 50 times to destroy. it is the house republicans who should be sued if that were possible for their lack of responsibilities to the people
of this nation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from texas. mr. sessions: thank you very much, mr. speaker. at this time i'd like to yield three minutes to the gentleman, mr. rice from south carolina. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina is recognized for three minutes. mr. rice: mr. speaker, my favorite piece of art in this capitol is a picture in the rotunda of our founding fathers gathered together to sign the declaration of independence. a document that they knew when they signed it they were signing their own death warrant. their own death warrant if they were caught and tried for treason. they felt that strongly that they wanted to escape the bonds of a monarch and pursue freedom. our forefathers fought a revolution against the greatest military power on earth to
escape the bonds of a monarchy. at the end of that bloody revolution, the last thing they wanted was another king. they wanted freedom. to protect that precious freedom, they designed a government of, by and for the people based upon a separation of powers. the legislative branch makes the laws. the executive branch enforces the laws. president obama has decided that he is not bound by the separation of powers. he has bragged that if congress will not accept his priorities, he has a pen and a phone and he will make the laws himself. he may have a pen, but the people have the constitution. left us by our forefathers. our forefathers recognized that
one man that both can make the laws and enforce the laws is a king, not a president. thomas jefferson once said that freedom does not disappear all t once but is eroded imperceptively day by day. the prosperity of our great country sprang from our freedom. our form of government set in the constitution by our forefathers has protected that very fragile freedom for 200 years. my friends across the aisle worry about the price of a lawsuit to protect our freedom. our forefathers paid dearly for that freedom. many gave all they had, even their lives. our freedom is in peril, my friends. we cannot stand by and watch
the president shred our constitution. i stand in support of house resolution 676. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. the gentlelady from new york. ms. slaughter: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. schiff. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for two minutes. mr. schiff: mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to this resolution. the constitutional question raised by this measure is whether the house has standing to sue the president over what he is in essence -- over what is in essence a policy difference. standing is a constitutionally defined status and requires the plaintiff, among other things, demonstrate a legally recognized injury. the house would also have to show that there is no other remedy. on both of these counts, this lawsuit fails. the house cannot speak for the senate, which doesn't agree
with its position, and therefore cannot represent the legislative branch. even if it could, neither body has suffered a recognizable injury merely because some members of the congress do not like how the president has interpreted a law passed by a different congress. moreover, this congress has a remedy. if it doesn't like the way the president implemented the affordable care act, it can change the law. that would be a far better approach, one more consistent with our separation of powers, than this expensive and ill-conceived lawsuit. i urge the house to reject this effort and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from texas. mr. sessions: mr. speaker, i reserve my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas reservices his time. the gentlelady from new york. ms. slaughter: mr. speaker, i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. nadler. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for two minutes. mr. nadler: thank you.
the speaker does not have a good record on wasting taxpayer dollars on frivolous lawsuits. when the supreme court said the domedome could not be wasted -- they lost in the supreme court. now the speaker wants to waste more of the taxpayers' money on the meritless lawsuit against the president for not, quote, taking care that the law be faithfully executed. what did the president? in implementing the affordable care act, which the republican-led house has voted to repeal 50 times, he postponed one provision by one year. so now they want to waste money to go to court to say the president had no power to postpone this provision for a year although no one opposed president bush when he postponed implementation of a provision of the medicare drug act for a year. it is well settled it is within the discretion of presidents in implementing a law to postpone implementation of part of it in order to get it done right. but this leads to another absurdity of the case. let's assume the republicans
get the house to go into court and somehow overcome the standing question, which they will not, what is the remedy, they seek? by the time they got to court, the provision in question will have been implemented. so they want to waste $5 million of taxpayers' money and say, judge, please let the president already what he implemented. tiles ridiculously. what do we got? we have a congress that passed no highway bill, no unemployment extension bill, no pay for equity for women bill, no action to reduce the burdens of student loans, no action to make sure that women continue to have access to contraceptive services despite the supreme court's hobby lobby decision, no action on all the emergencies that face the american people. we are going to waste money and time on a meritless lawsuit that will go nowhere, simply serve a single function of diverting attention from all the real problems the house republicans want to continue to ignore. this is not a proper use of the taxpayers' money.
more wasted money for political purposes. a shame. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from texas. mr. sessions: mr. speaker, i'd like to ask how much time remains on both sides. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas has four minutes remaining. the gentlelady from new york has eight minutes remaining. mr. sessions: we'll reserve our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas reserves his time. the gentlelady from new york. ms. slaughter: mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the gentlelady from texas, ms. jackson lee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from texas is recognized for one minute. ms. jackson lee: i thank the gentlelady very much. nd i rise to oppose h.res. 676, which is seeking an unconstitutional right to sue the president for doing a duty and following the law. the underbelly of this resolution would in essence put fire, fire in the hearts and minds of americans when we find out that this legislation is to
undermine the president and any of his officers and employees from doing their job. this is a failed attempt to impeach the president. i'm willing to say that word, because the president has been following the law. the law passed that gives him discretion to interpret the affordable care act, to make it best work for the american people. as has been stated, if you want to change the law, go to the floor of the house. but in actuality, this resolution smacks against the constitution which says there are three equal branches of government. therefore, the executive has a right to perform his duties. i ask my colleagues to oppose this resolution for it is in fact a failed attempt of impeachment and it undermines the law that allows the president to do his job. a historical fact that president bush pushed this nation into war and had little to do with apprehending terrorists. we did not seek an impeachment of president bush because as an executive he had his authority. president obama has the
authority. and i would ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to in essence provide the opportunity for us to do valid things for the american people, improve the minimum wage, paycheck fairness and stop undermining the authority, as indicated by the constitution, that gives equal authority to the three branches of government. we can pass laws. we have the ability to pass laws. and citizens have the right to go into court on their independent standing. the courts have often said that the congress has no standing. the house of representatives has no independent standing, as evidenced by many cases we have already taken to court and determined that congress has no standing. the doctrine of standing is a mix of constitutional requirement derived from a case or controversy provision in article 3 and prudential consideration, which are jew dishally created and can be modified by congress. that dictates on how you gain standing, and i would say the constitutionally based elements
require the plaintiffs have suffered a personal injury, in fact, which is actual, imminent, concrete and particularized. the injury must be fairly traceable to the defendant's conduct and likely be redressed by the relief requested from the court. let me be very clear, we in congress can make no argument that the president has injured us. we can make no independent argument of that, and so i ask my colleagues to oppose this resolution and do not accept a veiled attempt of impeachment when our president is doing his duty and following the law under the constitution of the united states of america. i yield back. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from new york has five minutes remaining. the gentleman from texas. mr. sessions: we reserve our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentlelady from new york. ms. slaughter: mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the gentleman from georgia, mr. lewis. the speaker pro tempore: for one minute. mr. lewis: mr. speaker, i want
to thank my good friend, the the gentlewoman from new york for yielding. this resolution is a waste of time and money. we are sent to congress to make progress on behalf of the people of this nation. yet house republicans spend all of their time and energy fighting this president. why? republicans need to jump off the bandwagon of political attack and come together to jumstart the economy. while americans are unemployed, they did nothing to put them back to work. when people are losing their homes, they did little to protect them from foreclosure. while hunger and poverty are on the rise in this country, they have hardly mentioned the disappearing middle class. from the first day in office, the republicans in this house
has never supported this president. every olive branch he extended was broken. but today, mr. speaker, they have reached a low, a very low point. this resolution to sue the president just goes a little too far. it is a shame and a disgrace that we are here debating the suing of the president. the american people deserve better. we can do better. we can do much better. i urge each and every one of my colleagues -- the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. ms. slaughter: i give the gentleman an additional 30 seconds. mr. lewis: i urge each and every top oppose lleagues this insulating resolution. it has no place on the floor. let us get back to work that we
were elected to do. thank you. and i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair would ask members to speak within the allocated time. the gentlelady from new york has 5 1/2 minutes left. time.ssions: i reserve my the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas reserves his time. ms. slaughter: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from tennessee, ranking member of the judiciary committee. mr. cohen. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. cohen: i appreciate the time. i find it interesting that this is all about president obama engaging in executive overreach. look at the statistics. during president obama's first term and compare him to previous
-- similar presidents. president bush issued 173 executive orders. president clinton, 200, president reagan 213. president obama, only 147. and during this part of president obama's second term, he has thus far issued only 36 executive orders while president bush during the second term issued 116, clinton, 164. and reagan 168. so i ask you based on the statistics, is that overreach? no, it's underreach. it's underreach. mitch mcconnell said upon president obama's inauguration, the job was to see that this man wasn't re-elected. now the job seems to be to see that the attack on the president can be such that the republicans take the senate and hopefully
set the stage for 2016 for the presidency. this unquestionably is impeachment. it is an attempt to put the president in a situation in a lawsuit that if successful, which i find hard to believe would be the foundation for impeachment. this president has done nothing that is impeachable, nothing that merits this type of action. nothing that merits this type of disrespect. he should be respected as our president and supported and we should work to create jobs, pass an infrastructure bill, pass a minimum wage bill and extend unemployment insurance. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from texas. mr. sessions: i would like to yield two minutes to the gentleman from from texas, dr. burgess, member of the rules committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for two minutes.
mr. burgess: i thank the chairman for yielding the time. there are plenty of places in the affordable care act where it is full of drafting errors and stuff that wasn't ready for prime time. but you know, mr. speaker, there is no ambiguity over this issue. when the president delayed the institution of the employer mandate on july 2, 2013. he couldn't are have been clearer. let me give you an example, the effective date of the individual mandate as written in law for the individual mandate, the amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable apply ending after december 31, 2013. pretty clear, shall apply. straightforward. the effective date for the employer mandate section 1514 of the law, effective date, the amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after december 31, 2013. it really does seem straightforward.
there is no ambiguity there. i would just ask the question, is there a list of laws that must be followed and those that may or may not be followed depending upon whatever the will of the president is that day. i would remind my colleagues, the words of abraham lincoln the best way to end a bad law is to enforce it strictly. we should do the same. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentlelady from new york. ms. slaughter: may i inquire how much time i have? the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady has 3 1/2 minutes remaining. 1/2 minutes to mr. clyburn. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. clyburn: i thank the gentlelady for yielding me this time. mr. speaker we in this body are called upon to represent the wishes of the american people. ast national election,
president obama was re-elected by the american people by an overwhelming majority. and what we find today are the people who opposed his re-election, the people who for years now have been wishing upon him failure or attempting to do with this lawsuit what they could not do at the polling places. rather than address the problems of the american people, repairing our crumbling nfrastructure, getting affordability for our young people to attend colleges and universities and other post-secondary education, here we are trying to find a way to upon which to eg
hang an impeachment resolution. that's what this is all about. i would hope that we would hurry up and return dignity to this body and stop these charades that are inflaming the american people in a way they are undeserving of and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from texas. mr. sessions: i have no additional speakers except myself and i would reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlelady from new york. ms. slaughter: i'm prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for two minutes. ms. slaughter: we are about to bring to a close this spectacle of legislative malpractice. sad to see that we have arrived at this point of this legislative year where we are
about to go home for five weeks. we should be here on the floor taking care of the very many issues that many people have talked about all day. most importantly, this lawsuit goes against everything that the majority has been working for for the last four years. they have tried over 50 times spending $79 million to repeal the affordable care act. obviously, americans -- not anyone listening to this is going to believe there is a great change of heart and so broken up that it wasn't implemented in time and by the book that you are going to try to sue the president of the united states. i don't think even kids watching "sesame street" would make any sense. it comes from the majority's own party. it is sadly a partisan political
election year stunt and has no place in this house. when i first came here the bipartisan was so wonderful and strong that the new york delegation, all of us, stood together on issues after issues. i miss that terribly and wish for it to come back. i urge my colleagues to vote against this disgraceful resolution and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from texas is recognized for two minutes. mr. sessions: thank you very much. mr. speaker, our system of government's in a bad place when one branch of government is compeled to sue another branch of government for failing to play its proper constitutional role. we shouldn't be in that situation, but we are. the president should have fulfilled his oath to faithfully execute the laws as written by congress and signed by this president. unfortunately, this lawsuit is necessary because the president
has not implemented the law as passed and chose -- picked and chooseed how he would have the law affect the american citizens. this resolution will help guarantee the legislation passed by house of representatives and not according to the whim of one person, that being the president of the united states. also, no president should be allowed to pick and choose which laws matter and which ones do not. it's unfortunate some members of congress believe that this body should be irrelevant. it's unfortunate that they believe that any president should be able to enforce the law or not enforce the law as that president chooses. the american people elect their member of congress. they live under the laws that are written. they make their plans and follow through based upon what the laws are and they live under these
rule of laws and members of congress believe that laws that we pass no longer matter, they're going to say that their belief in the american system comes under question. when we allow the president to single handedly determine what the law is, the constitution, separation of powers and the american people become irrelevant. that is why the president's system of unilateral governance cannot stand. it must be stopped. and even if it takes a lawsuit to do so, that's what we think the federal judiciary is there to do, to resolve differences based upon the law. if the president's goal was to goat the house and defend the constution, he has succeeded when he said why not sue me. our constitution should be defended and must be understood and guaranteed. this rol