Tags: Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | Obamacare | executive amnesty

Sen. Rand Paul to Newsmax: Obama 'Usurping Authority'

By    |   Tuesday, 16 December 2014 03:24 PM

A Senate bill that would block President Barack Obama's sweeping executive order on immigration is just one of the challenges Congress must take up against the White House's unlawful abuse of power, the bill's sponsor, Sen. Rand Paul told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

"In a multitude of areas the president has usurped his authority, and it isn't so much just about immigration," Paul, a Kentucky Republican, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner, citing Obama's waging of war in the Middle East and making arbitrary changes in the Affordable Care Act.

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"He amended Obamacare many times without the authority of Congress, and that's going to be heard again before the Supreme Court … and then there's also the war," said Paul. "Our founders were very clear that war was to be initiated or declared by Congress, not by the president."

Paul said his bill — to stop the president from granting de-facto residency to about 5 million immigrants who are in the country illegally — mirrors legislation the House approved on Dec. 4. 

"We understand the realities: it would be difficult to get Democrats to support it; and it would be difficult to get the president to sign it," said Paul. "But by showing the will of Congress — or at least [showing] the majority of Congress thinks that what he is doing is illegal — it bolsters the court case."

The administration is facing multiple court challenges: one by the House over executive-branch revisions to the healthcare law; another that says some subsidies for insurance violate the law's own provisions; and, on immigration, a lawsuit filed by 17 states claiming harm from the president's executive actions.

Paul said precedent for the legal challenges exists. He cited a Supreme Court rebuke of President Harry Truman for attempting a federal takeover of the steel industry to avert a nationwide strike.

The high court ruled that while executive orders can extend the reach of laws passed by Congress, they cannot contradict those laws, said Paul.

Paul, rumored to be considering a run for president in 2016, said a congressional challenge to the immigration order — often referred to as executive amnesty — does not have to alienate the country's Hispanic voting population.

"This is a constitutional issue; I treat this as completely separate from immigration," he said. "I don't know if it'll be perceived that way, but this is whether the president can be a legislator. Our founding fathers were very explicit: they wanted a separation of powers and co-equal branches, but the president was to execute the will and the law of Congress. He wasn't to write the law."

Paul also said that the connections between immigration policy and Hispanics' political allegiances are "a little complicated" and not as "clear-cut as some on the other side would make it out to be."

He pointed to Texas, a Republican-dominated state that has a large Hispanic population and a border that is one of flash points of controversy over U.S. immigration policy.

"I recently met with the chairman of the Republican Party from Texas, and he told me that the Republican Party in every statewide office won the Hispanic vote this time around," said Paul. "It was very close, but they actually won the Hispanic vote."

Paul said Republicans in Congress will also help themselves with Hispanic voters in the long run by passing some form of comprehensive immigration reform, which Paul said he supports in principle.

"The main stumbling block for me is, in order to do any of the reforms, you have to secure the border first," he said. "If you have a secured border, I'm one who says I wouldn't mind finding work permits for some of those who are here. I just can't offer that to everyone in the world, just to come, and it can't be an open-borders process."

Paul predicted that a Republican-led Congress will, in fact, pass a bill addressing all those concerns, and that "the issue will shift back towards us when we show that we will pass a sane form of immigration reform."

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A Senate bill blocking President Barack Obama's sweeping executive order on immigration is just one of the challenges that Congress must take up against the White House's unlawful abuse of power, the bill's sponsor, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.
Obamacare, executive amnesty
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 03:24 PM
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