Who Paul Ryan should endorse: A more assertive Congress

"What was that you used to say about executive overreach, Democrats?" (Win McNamee / Getty Images)

“What was that you used to say about executive overreach, Democrats?” (Win McNamee / Getty Images)

The most important thing Paul Ryan said after his much-hyped meeting with Donald Trump on Thursday had nothing to do with endorsing the GOP’s presumptive nominee, or with talking Trump into supporting the conservative ideas that the candidate has said aren’t necessarily part and parcel of the party. The most important thing Ryan said had to do with reasserting the place of Congress as first among the three co-equal branches of the federal government.

Ryan said the men “discussed the core principles that tie us all together: principles like the Constitution, the separation of powers, the fact that we have an executive that has gone way beyond the boundaries of the Constitution, and how it’s important to us that we restore Article I of the Constitution.” He has been hitting on this theme a lot recently, as well he should: Over the past 15-plus years, a consistent message brought by inconsistent (read: partisan) messengers is that the executive branch has become too powerful. Liberals said it about George W. Bush; conservatives have leveled the charge at Barack Obama. If they had any principle to them — a big “if” — both groups should be willing to sound the alarm now, when it’s unclear which party will control the White House starting in January.

Ryan, at least, is willing to make that argument. And two pieces of news since Thursday’s Ryan-Trump meeting underscore why others should join him.

The first was a federal court ruling that the Obama administration was wrong to spend money on Obamacare subsidies that Congress hadn’t appropriated. Just because Congress authorized the program (when it passed the Affordable Care Act) doesn’t mean the administration can spend money on it if Congress hasn’t also authorized funding for it. “Congress is the only source for such an appropriation, and no public money can be spent without one,” wrote U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer.

Democrats who howled about Bush’s powers in office want to paint this lawsuit, which was filed by the House GOP, as a matter of animosity toward poor people (the subsidies in question go to insurance companies on the Obamacare exchanges that have enrolled, and in turn subsidized, low-income customers). And maybe you are inclined to believe the only reason the House GOP sued in this case was because it doesn’t like Obamacare and is running out of ways to stop it. OK, fine. That doesn’t change the fact the principle here is the correct one: Only Congress has the power of the purse, and if the Supreme Court can rule the line-item veto unconstitutional because it usurps the legislature’s power to spend money, then it should follow that the executive branch also acts unconstitutionally when it usurps the legislature’s power not to spend money.

Then this morning the Departments of Education and Justice issued “guidance” that every public school in America must allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. This is based solely on the administration’s belief that “sex discrimination” barred by Title IX includes gender identity. The administration doesn’t want this novel, legally unproven theory about the meaning of “sex” to be subject to the legislative process, but rather to make law (a legislative duty) by interpreting the law (a judicial prerogative).

If you support this action because you support the result, imagine for a moment that the DOJ and DOE were instead decreeing that no public school shall allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. Legally and constitutionally, there is no difference between the two actions; if you object to one, you should also object to the other. Or, at the very least, you should stop pretending you care about executive overreach, just overreach by the other party.

One irony of the Obama administration’s many overreaches is that they have been crucial to the rise of a man the left detests. That’s because Trump has, if nothing else, run as a man who would simply use the powers of the presidency, exaggerated by President Phone-and-Pen, for different ends. Paul Ryan is right to resist this no matter who the president is, now or come Jan. 20, and if Democrats won’t acknowledge that, other congressional Republicans should. As I said jokingly last summer, it’s perhaps the best thing that could come of Trump as a serious presidential candidate.

Reader Comments 0

92 comments
lvg
lvg

Interesting article. What is left out is the Non-accomplishments of the GOP led House over the last 8 years. Aside from ending Obamacare, redefining rape and being against anything the President proposed - what are they?

Two key bills to create thousands of jobs -the highway funding bill and Ex-Im Bank were forced through by Nancy Pelosi with renegade cons in the House las year.But then again the House is only concerned about blocking Dems and the President  and not Jobs..

Getting a District Court Judge to rule the government cannot provide assistance to low income folks on their co-pays is a great issue to be boasting about in an election year. Particularly when SCOTUS upheld Obamacare twice. 


The bathroom issue is based on someone who is truly transgender in dress and choice not someone who wants to have a romp in the girls bathroom for fun. A unisex bathroom or faculty bathroom should be available in every school. But the Cons love issues that involve sex  since they have little else of substance to run on until they get caught doing something naughty like ole Newt and Herman Cain did.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

Blah blah.

On another day you'd be criticizing the ExIm bank as "corporate welfare".

The court ruled that Obama violated the Constitution because he violated the Constitution, and because Democrats alone wrote Obamacare the way they did. All blame belongs to Dems on that.

And how are leftists going to guarantee that the men using girls showers and bathrooms are "truly transgender" whatever that is? Are they going to post monitors at each bathroom, and how will they tell who is who?

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

"I'm sorry, sir, but you appear to be enjoying this a little too much. You'll have to go to the men's shower."

lvg
lvg

@Lil_Barry_Bailout No response as usual on the failure of the GOP controlled House to do anything productive for eight years. Nothing in Dept. Of Ed. directive says men should be allowed in girl's showers. all it requires is schools provide a bathroom for transgenders. Most schools already have a unisex bathroom. Keep fantasizing- cons love those sexual fantasies.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

I'll agree that passing the un-American Obamacare wasn't productive, but Real Americans had nothing to do with it. I'm sure it seems a long time ago, but Democrats were in the majority in 2009-10.

And why do you want to force transgendered people to use a shower that doesn't match their pretend gender? Bigot!

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

I am amazed that so many many male republicans take the stance " we love to have homosexual men in our bathrooms with us, but we are terribly afraid of having transgender females who self identify as males, in the next stall". Way to go guys.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

If Obama thinks he's the only one who can withhold funding, he's gottanother "clink" coming.

Given the recent court rulings AGAINST Obama's executive overreach, I'll put my money on Ryan when it comes to game strategy. He's playing offense. Obama's on defense.

omark
omark

In a perfect world, we’d all be thrilled with the body parts we were born with. We’d all find the opposite sex appealing, and one happy day, we’d find our soul mate, and live happily ever after.

However, that’s not the world we live in.  The Donald’s currently on soul mate number three, and Caitlyn Jenner, and Chaz Bono, threaten to invade our public restrooms.  

I freely admit that I’d rather not share a restroom with either Caitlyn, or Chaz, but I’m sure my creator granted me the courage to deal with the situation. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just empty your bladder, and walk away.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_order

For the record, Imperial Overlord, Obama, has issued fewer executive orders than Regan.

When it comes to outrageous executive overreach, it’s hard to compete with Abraham Lincoln. His damnable Emancipation Proclamation stripped millions of hard working Americans, of their “legal property”, with just the stroke of a pen. 

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

And for the record, the requirement that girls share showers and bathrooms with boys isn't an executive order, and it won't be included in your little Wikipedia article.

So your childlike "analysis" of executive orders is meaningless.

omark
omark

Transgenders as a percentage of the population, are estimated to be between 0.1, and 0.2 percent of the total population. Clearly Obama’s pandering to the transgender vote. Since transgender people are nearly as numerous as unicorns, I can safely predict that the democrats are going to win the next election by a landslide.

As a real issue, the national invasion, of public restrooms, by transgenders has got to rank right up there with massive voter fraud.

LDH2O
LDH2O

Kyel: " instead decreeing that no public school shall allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. Legally and constitutionally, there is no difference between the two actions" Is a FLAWED argument. Just because a BAD decree can be issued does not mean that ANY decree is bad. Think of Congress instead of setting taxes at some of your money, what if they took ALL your money. Your argument states that there is no difference, but there is because the government sets regulations and taxes.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

You completely missed the point of Kyle's argument.

And admitted that you're part of the mob who care only that their own beliefs be forced on others.

LDH2O
LDH2O

@Lil_Barry_Bailout  So you agree then that his argument is flawed since  you cannot refute that but only try weakly to redirect which itself is a fallacy.

OH, and as regards to your posting name, It was W and the Republicans who passed TARP so you should be called Lill W Bailout - you got that wrong also.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

For once, the lefties on Kyle's blog agree with him--they all want a more assertive, activist Congress!

Bruno2
Bruno2

Kyle: "Then this morning the Departments of Education and Justice issued "guidance" that every public school in America must allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice."

I have a bad feeling that the bathroom issue is going to end in violence based upon comments that are posted on yahoo whenever another "bathroom" story is run.  It seems that many men feel protective toward the women in their lives and are willing to take matters into their own hands if they see a dude walking into the ladies bathroom/locker room/shower.  Under this new law, any male now has the right to enter any ladies facilities with no questions asked.

The University of Toronto found out in a hurry why it's not a good idea to allow unisex bathrooms after male students were caught filming the female students while they showered.  Kyle mentioned a creepy story out of Seattle in which some dude asserted his right to change in the ladies locker room in front of the girls swim team who was inside at the time.  The employees were forced to let him do as he pleased.  Why this is acceptable to the Libs is beyond my comprehension.  People, and ladies in particular, have a right to privacy.  Why don't the Libs acknowledge that simple truth??  Who is creating a "War on Women" here??

http://www.dailywire.com/news/330/university-toronto-dumps-transgender-bathrooms-pardes-seleh

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

The debate about executive authority is an honest one. We should be having it.


But instead we get into this dog and pony show of Obama broke the law !!!! It isnt the number of executive orders its the scope !!!!


Obama isnt doing anything previous Presidents haven't done before him. If you want to change the rules. Change em.


Otherwise its just hand wringing that your guy isn't President and Obama is.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

Obama is violating the law as Kyle pointed out in the post. No need for any new laws. Your continued ignorance is pretty pathetic, but hilarious.

Is the Constitution not enough law for you liberal fascists?

Claude Robichaux
Claude Robichaux

@Hedley_Lammar The power of the executive has gotten out of hand but Congress likes it that way.  We've invaded countries at least 3 times the last 25 years with no declaration of war from Congress.  They do that so if things go bad those spineless legislators will then blame the President.  Also, for the House to assert itself they would have to DO SOMETHING.  Instead they do nothing, except, oh yea, cash those paychecks every week.

LDH2O
LDH2O

@Lil_Barry_Bailout: He won some and lost some but this one is NOT over. No one can say he is violating the law. BUT let me ask, did you say it was pathetic when W. & Reagan lost court cases?? Your continued ignorance is pretty pathetic, but hilarious

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

@Claude Robichaux @Hedley_Lammar

Yep, for example Hillary voting for the Iraq war resolution when it was popular, then flip-flopping and screeching about Our President Bush having fooled her into voting for it when the poll numbers dropped.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Notice when you ask for specific examples of Obama's lawbreaking you get crickets.Nothing.


NADA


Its something they like to say. But it just ain't so.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Notice again


Crickets....Nothing...Nada...Zip...Zilch....Diddly Squat....Goose Eggs....Zero....Void....Null


NOTHING

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Kyle_Wingfield @Hedley_Lammar

It's the duty of the Executive and Legislative branches to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. 

It's the court's job to decide when the Constitution is violated by one of the other two branches. 

IMO, this isn't (shouldn't be) a political issue.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Hedley_Lammar  I didn't make the claim, but this post is based in part on a court's ruling that the administration violated the Constitution ...

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Nick_Danger It's a political issue because it keeps happening, and it keeps happening on matters that are pretty cut and dried.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

A GOP Congress is the best protection Americans can have against either of the two lousy Democrat nominees.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

Yes Congress has power of the purse. Now when are they going to "power up" their brains. They've promised immigration reform and an alternate plan to Obamacare. When? What century? Compromise? Do you really think Trump will compromise? Which view of a single subject, any subject, will he compromise on?


The transportation bill was a stop gap legislation, not something that would lead to more jobs and better infrastructure.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@RoadScholar They've promised immigration reform and an alternate plan to Obamacare.


To be fair they did take 50 or so votes to repeal Obamacare. Even knowing it wouldn't get past an Obama veto


Maybe that is why they couldn't come up with an Obamacare alternative. They were busy with that and their other "show trials"

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Trump is saying now that all the crazy stuff he said was just "suggestions"


So much for the wall huh ?


He played you guys for the suckers you are. ( Not you Kyle )

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

I still cant believe the GOP has a birther, a guy who reads the National Enquirer and thinks the stories are true, as the head of their party.


The average Republican voter has been dumbed down to this level. Years of conservative media pumping them full of crazy ideas have done the job nicely. We see it in the crazy posts here every day.


Its simply amazing.


Some day in the not so distant future, historians will look back on our time in astonishment at just how dysfunctional the GOP has become.




Caius
Caius

"Who Paul Ryan should endorse: A more assertive Congress"

Amen brother, Amen!


Starik
Starik

@Caius Turn the country over to the tea party caucus? 

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@Caius Agreed.  Now it would help if the House would do their job and get the INDIVIDUAL budget bills passed and done in a timely manner (i.e. not September 30th and not in one giant omnibus bill).  I don't think they should get paid if they don't do a budget.  Until Obama budgets were always done.  It wasn't until Reid and Pelosi were made into the minority that it was done ( years with the government operating without a budget).  But Boehner and McConnell failed this year after getting one passed last year.  Ryan doesn't seem to be doing a very good job so far at his most basic duty.

HILUX
HILUX

Paul Ryan is a leading open-borders advocate, and so will not come to terms with presumptive nominee Trump on his signature issue.

Too bad. Four years under the Clintons won't be kind to him, and he'll likely lose his big business/cheap labor donors anyway.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

When congress won't do even the basic functions of their job,  by all means an executive should act.   They were begged, but they are too busy raising $$$ for reelections.


xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@Jefferson1776 Uh, no.  They just didn't do what Obama wanted.  Separation of powers.  I guess you missed it in elementary school, middle school and high school.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Hedley_Lammar From "is unprecedented" to "will be unprecedented" after someone posts just one little ol' fact.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Kyle_Wingfield @Hedley_Lammar  Yet



The longest wait for a nominee, from the time it was received to the time it got a vote, was 125 days


Obama has about three times that left in office. If they dont vote up or down on his nominee that will indeed be unprecedented.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Hedley_Lammar It also "will be unprecedented" when the Braves win the rest of their games this season. Or when Belize wins all the gold medals at this summer's Olympics.

See how easy this is?