Rep. Blackburn: Obama 'Broke the Law' in Bergdahl Deal

Monday, 09 Jun 2014 06:06 PM

By Jason Devaney

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Rep. Marsha Blackburn says President Barack Obama "broke the law" in the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap.

Blackburn told guest co-hosts Dennis Kneale and Diane Dimond on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Monday that the administration has ruffled the feathers of politicians on both sides of the aisle by trading five Taliban detainees for Bergdahl, who was held prisoner for five years after allegedly walking away from his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan.

"It was beyond party lines on day one, hour one. People are incensed with this," said Blackburn, who represents Tennessee's Seventh Congressional District. "The president and his team broke the law. This is a law. It wasn't a suggestion. We don't send suggestions to Capitol Hill so he can pull one out of a box and decide what he wants to do that day," Blackburn said.

Blackburn was first speaking about the EPA's proposed rule to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing fossil fuel power plants. Kneale changed the subject to the Bergdahl matter by asking about the other "troubles" the administration is facing, a list that includes Bergdahl, the VA scandal, Obamacare, and more.

"I've decided that what they do is try to get so many things messed up at the same time that it's just more than you can say grace over. This is their way. They can meddle in more things," Blackburn said.

"Just think about the headlines from last week. You had the VA, you had the EPA, you had all of this messed up against with healthcare.gov and Obamacare. You have the Bergdahl situation. You can't make all this stuff up."

Story continues below video.



Blackburn, vice chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the administration deliberately ignored the rule that says a president must provide 30 days' notice to Congress before going through with a prisoner swap.

Others have said Obama played politics with Bergdahl, seizing the opportunity to release prisoners from the U.S. military's installation at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"There was quite a bit of discussion with how to go about this process of either certification or notification or both when someone was going to be released from Gitmo. Well, this president did not want both certification and notification," Blackburn said.

"Certification [meant] that the terrorists would not go back to the fight. So, the nuance or compromised position was that you would have notification provided 30 days in advance. But the administration would not have to make that certification. So, this was something that had been in the [National Defense Authorization Act] and great discussion about it at length.

"The president has spoken on this and now all of a sudden, you come in and the president said, 'Well, I really didn't like that anyway and I tried to get rid of it. I just didn't do it,'" Blackburn said.

Regarding the EPA's proposed rule, Blackburn said the administration is trying to push the country "back to where we were in the late 1800s or late 1900s" with its proposed emissions standards. The new rules would lead to higher energy costs at the consumer level, she said.

"Right now, if you look at the cost of regulations on a family of four, the average family of four has $15,000 a year coming out of their family budget just to pay for the cost of regulations," she said.

"The president said that electric power costs would necessarily, not probably or maybe, but necessarily skyrocket under his proposals. That is because he's willing to go away from carbon fuels and go to all the alternatives."

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