Things got heated on “Fox News Sunday” when host Chris Wallace forcefully demanded answers on the questionable executive actions of President Barack Obama from California Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra.
In a segment that also featured Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Wallace discussed Speaker of the House John Boehner’s recent lawsuit against the Obama administration over the actions it has taken without congressional approval.
After listing off specific actions the administration has taken without Congress — including deferred deportations and raising the minimum wage for federal contractors — Wallace turned to Becerra and asked, “What is the president’s legal authority to take all of these unilateral actions without going back to Congress?”
The California lawmaker responded that all of these actions met with popular approval and the American public wanted to see these things happen. “The list you showed are all things the American public wants to see.”
Becerra then tried to explain how the president decided to take action since Congress wasn’t doing “its job.” This prompted the Fox host to cut him off before he finished his statement to state that the Constitution does not grant power based on popularity.
“The Constitution does not say ‘Hey if it’s popular, you can exceed your authority.’ It’s kind of irrelevant,” Wallace said over a razzled Becerra.
Becerra restored his composure and went on to focus on the issue of raising the minimum wage for federal contractors as a justifiable action for the president. This didn’t satisfy Wallace and he repeated his original question that he felt Becerra was sidestepping.
“What is his legal authority for taking this action without going back to Congress?” Wallace repeated.
“The president has the authority — as the executive — to implement the laws,” Becerra answered. “If there is a law that says that we will pay a federal contractor money, the president can say ‘OK, federal contractors, you can’t gouge your workers because you’re getting federal taxpayer money to do the work.”
Wallace quickly shot back “But is he implementing the law?”
“Absolutely, he’s implementing the law,” the California congressman responded.
“Or is he rewriting the law?” Wallace prodded.
“No, he’s not rewriting it because he is simply implementing it,” Becerra said.