Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul is concerned about the White House’s promise to work around Congress through the use of executive orders and administrative fiat, claiming President Barack Obama’s comments to that effect “sound vaguely like a threat.”
Paul spoke with CNN’s Candy Crowley on Sunday about the president’s claim that — although he would like to work with congressional Republicans — he will use his “pen” and “phone” to enact federal law if they fail to approve his policies. “When you hear the president talk about that, what does it say to you?” Crowley asked.
“It sounds vaguely like a threat,” the senator responded, “and I think it also has a certain amount of arrogance, in the sense that one of the fundamental principles of our country were the checks and balances, that it wasn’t supposed to be easy to pass legislation. You had to debate and convince people.”
“And so there’s a lot of things the president’s not allowed to do,” Paul continued. “The president’s not allowed to write legislation, he’s not allowed to amend legislation, he’s not allowed to initiate war, and he’s not allowed to tell us when we’re in recess and when we’re not.”
The Supreme Court is currently reviewing whether Obama violated the Constitution by appointing three lawyers to the National Labor Relations Board while the Senate was in recess. Paul said he expects the Court to “rebuke” the president.
“[Obama] says, ‘Oh well, it’s hard to get Congress to do anything,’” he claimed. “Well yeah, welcome to the real world. It’s hard to convince people to get legislation through. It takes consensus. But that’s what he needs to be doing, is building consensus and not taking his pen and creating law.”
“What I would say is that, the problem in Washington is we need to find a way to compromise,” Paul said. “To me, compromise is you need to narrow the issue until you get to an amount of the issue you agree on.” He noted that most of Congress agrees on “about half” of immigration reform.
“But to my mind, the Democrats are saying they want everything — citizenship, everything they can get — all at once, or nothing,” the senator noted. “Whereas I think there’s an in-between… There’s a lot of things we can do, but the question is do we have to have everything that the Democrats want, or are they willing to go halfway?”
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