Sen. Mike Lee: Congress At Fault For Obama’s Amnesty Power Grab [AUDIO]

Derek Hunter Contributor
Font Size:

Republican Sen. Mike Lee said “almost all of” President Obama’s executive amnesty action is ultimately the fault of Congress passing vague laws.

Asked how much of the blame for the shift in power from Congress to the executive branch should be laid at the feet of Congresses of the past, Lee said:

I’m going to make a lot of people unhappy with what I’m about to say in response to that question, but almost all of it is Congress’s fault. We’re kidding ourselves if we think we can come up with a system of laws that delegates all of this lawmaking power to the executive branch. We’re kidding ourselves if we don’t think presidents, Democrats and Republicans alike, are going to abuse that. We’re kidding ourselves if we don’t think that’s going to result in an erosion of not only our constitutional order, but also liberty itself. So, yeah, this is Congress’s fault, it is overwhelmingly Congress’s fault and we’ve got to turn it back.

Speaking with me on my WBAL Radio show at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Lee was unambiguous in his warning that Republicans, particularly conservatives, cannot rely on the courts to keep executive power in check. Congress, when passing laws, has to be explicit in its language to prevent presidents from having wiggle room in the implementation and expansion of laws.

“We cannot allow the president to act as though he were a government of one,” Lee said. “He is not. We have a Constitution, that Constitution puts the legislative power, the power to make law, in the hands of Congress. And if the President of the United States doesn’t like our current immigration laws he needs to go through Congress, he can’t just decree it.”

On the strategy some Republicans have suggested of letting this issue play out in the courts. “We don’t know how that litigation is going to turn out. And I think it would be unwise for us to proceed as if that preliminary injunction is going to stick,” Lee said.

On relying on the courts, particularly the Supreme Court, Lee said, “We have to get away from the idea that so many of us have that the Constitution is something that only the courts worry about. Or the legislative branch can just say, ‘Well, we defer the courts on that issue.’ A lot of problems have occurred as a result of the Members of Congress and Presidents have taken that approach, and in the process they stopped reading the Constitution, they stopped taking personal responsibility with what they, themselves, have an obligation to defend under the Constitution.”

In addition to the fight over immigration, Sen. Lee briefly discussed his love of the band Journey.

Listen to the whole interview here: