Multiple witnesses told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that Congress is in danger of ceding all of its power to the presidency if it continues on the path it is on.
"We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications for our system of government, constitutional lawyer Jonathan Turley told the committee. "For Congress not to act borders on self-loathing."
"If you want to stay relevant as an institution, I would suggest that you not stand idly by and let the president take your power away," testified Elizabeth Price Foley, a law professor at Florida International University.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, heads the committee and told Fox News' Megyn Kelly
, "It didn't start with Obama."
Previous presidents on the left and right were guilty too, he said, as were previous Congresses that passed sweeping bills such as Obamacare that gave the executive branch more power.
"But this president has gone beyond even what Congress has given him and even beyond what previous presidents have done," Goodlatte said.
Obama's use of executive orders to enact rules on his own has sparked concern from Republicans and some Democrats.
One tool that Congress has is to bring a lawsuit, Goodlatte said, but he acknowledged that courts historically have not been interested in injecting themselves into such disputes because they feel they are political.
"It's not a political dispute," Goodlatte said. "It's a dispute about what the Constitution says the Congress' authorities are."
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