Circumventing Congress in an Attempt to Gain Control of Internet
On process, this is a basically complete abdication of the principals of transparency, accountability, and public-participation in government. The cybersecurity legislation did not stall in Congress simply because of dysfunction or disregard. Rather, it was the target of a massive grassroots effort that drove tens of thousands of calls to Congress and dozens of in-person meetings urging lawmakers to either add privacy safeguards to the bill, or vote it down. That action, which coincided with an industry-led attack on regulations in the bill, is what caused its demise. The executive order is a way for the Obama Administration to enact a bill that the public has clearly demonstrated they do not want. What’s worse, the it is being drafted in secret by unaccountable government bureaucrats, and, unless leaked, it will not be available for public review before it goes into effect. The Administration is essentially taking all the worst qualities of how the legislative branch operates these days, turning them up to an extreme level, and using them to enact legislation that’s so unpopular even our corrupt and out-of-touch Congress can’t pass it.
Circumventing Congress to Invade Libya
Contrary to his own previously stated understanding of what the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution demand, President Obama committed U.S. forces to war in Libya without Congressional approval, despite the lack of anything like an imminent threat to national security.
This situation differs from the U.S. involvement in Libya last year, when the president was criticized for not notifying Congress.
Given the counterterrorism provisions in the fairly recent National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), we currently live in a country where the government can pick up American citizens and detain them indefinitely without access to a lawyer or even a criminal trial. That means locked up forever without even the basic protections we afford to rapists and murderers.
…the NDAA will persist under a Romney administration as well.
Circumventing Congress in Presidential Appointments, and Infrastructure, Economic, Immigration, & Welfare Policy Changes
By a vote of 261-116, the House of Representatives passed a bill rewriting Article II of the Constitution and divesting the Senate of the power to accept or reject the appointment of many presidential nominees…
Dozens of key management positions in the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Commerce, and Homeland Security (including the treasurer of the United States, the deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, the director of the Office for Domestic Preparedness, and the assistant administrator of FEMA) will now be filled by presidential edict, without the need of the “advice and consent” of the Senate, a phrase specifically removed from the process in the text of the bill.
Although the House vote occurred on Tuesday, the Senate voted to surrender its constitutional check on the executive over a year ago on June 29, 2011.
Obama is employing his executive powers now more than ever before during his presidency.
Obama has been sidestepping Congress through his “We Can’t Wait” initiative, a series of executive actions that he claims benefit the middle class through infrastructure projects and economic policy changes.
He also skirted Senate approval in January when he appointed nominees to the National Labor Relations Board and to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The appointments were unprecedented because he made them when the Senate was technically not in recess, prompting legal challenges from conservative groups.
In June, the president halted deportations of illegal immigrants who entered the United States when they were children and met certain requirements, such as the lack of a criminal record. The change mirrored provisions of the DREAM Act — failed legislation that Obama supported and Senate Republicans blocked in 2010.
And in July, Obama changed welfare policy to allow states to modify work requirements if they test new approaches to increasing employment. Obama did not submit the policy change to Congress for review, which the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office concluded he should have done.
Extension of Bush’s PATRIOT ACT
Acting with minutes to spare, President Obama approved a four-year extension of expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, after Congress overcame mounting opposition from both parties to narrowly avoid a lapse in the terrorist surveillance law.
Obama, attending an international summit in France, awoke early Friday to review and approve the bill, directing that it be signed in Washington by automatic pen before the provisions expired at midnight Thursday Eastern time.