The House Judiciary Committee plans to storm back into Washington, D.C. as Congress comes out of its summer recess with a Wednesday morning hearing examining President Barack Obama’s “abuse of power.”
It’s the latest attempt by House Republicans to take an aggressive stance against the Obama administration in the final weeks ahead of the election.
The House Ways and Means Committee is drilling into how the Treasury Department terminated the pensions of 20,000 non-union Delphi salaried retirees during the 2009 auto bailout. House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa remains intent as ever on his quest for justice in the Operation Fast and Furious scandal. And, House Energy and Commerce committee Republicans are planning on continuing to draw attention to the failures of Obama’s green energy programs – with emphasis on Solyndra — as they’re moving forward with new “No More Solyndras” legislation.
According to Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, who is scheduled to visit the House side and testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, the hearing has a packed agenda aimed at confronting the Obama administration over its “unconstitutional” uses of power.
Among other things, Lee’s office said in a release forwarding information that was provided by the House Judiciary Committee, the hearing will focus in part on the president’s “prosecutorial discretion” — or administrative DREAM Act — immigration policies.
“The Executive branch has authority to set law enforcement priorities and to exercise prosecutorial discretion, but the Obama Administration has distorted and stretched these doctrines to unconstitutional ends,” the release Lee’s office sent out Monday outlining the plans the Judiciary Committee released reads. “By claiming the power to allow entire laws to go unenforced, the Administration has effectively suspended laws with which he disagrees. This is most flagrantly exhibited in the Administration’s decision to no longer enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act as to illegal immigrants who came to the United States as minors—effectively imposing the DREAM Act that failed to pass Congress.”
The release also explains that the hearing will accuse Obama of “evading” the Advice and Consent power of the U.S. Senate by “making ‘recess’ appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau even when the Senate, by its own rules, was in session.” In this part, the Judiciary Committee said that the Obama administration “has increasingly relied on its own ‘czars’ and White House personnel to set Administration policy in order to evade the Senate’s advice and consent power.”
The hearing will also rap Obama for internet regulations related to “net neutrality” that the committee says the Federal Communications Commission lacked “authority to regulate.”
The auto bailout is also likely to be examined, the committee says, as it argued that the “Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, acting on no legislative authority other than the raw power the Administration gained over GM & Chrysler when it bailed those companies out, abused the bankruptcy code to advance the Administration’s political interests over the rule of law.”
The 2009 auto bailout has come back into focus of late, as Obama attempts to frame it as a success and a rationale for his re-election. According to an analysis by the conservative Let Freedom Ring organization, Democrats touted the industry’s bailout more than 150 times during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., last week.
It appears House Ways and Means committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp is set to place his own emphasis on the Obama administration’s role in the auto bailout as well. He’s recently requested the White House, Treasury Department and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation hand over documents related to the termination of the pensions of 20,000 non-union Delphi salaried retirees. The administration has given no indication that it will cooperate with these requests.
On top of all of that, the Judiciary Committee said this hearing will dig into how Obama has been “flouting Congress’s oversight function,” specifically with regard to Operation Fast and Furious.
“The Administration’s contempt for Congressional oversight has undermined the Constitutional balance that requires the Executive branch to answer to the Legislative branch that authorizes and funds it,” the release reads. “Nowhere has the Administration’s contempt been more complete than in its misleading and stonewalling response to Congressional inquiries about the Fast & Furious scandal. For months, the Department of Justice refused to produce relevant documents, made false written assertions and gave misleading Congressional testimony. Then it dubiously asserted Executive privilege to avoid transparency. Ultimately, the Attorney General was properly held in contempt of Congress for his refusal to produce relevant, non-privileged documents.”
Additionally, Issa’s Oversight committee is planning a hearing for a week from Wednesday on Fast and Furious, as Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to complete his investigation by then.
The Judiciary hearing will also condemn Obamacare for attacks on “religious liberty” through the “contraception mandate.”