President Obama told Ohioans yesterday that he "refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer." And judging by his decisions, he doesn’t care if that "no" comes from the Constitution itself. Speaking to a group near Cleveland, the President defended his decision to blow by Congress this week and make four recess appointments without Congress being on recess to begin with! House leaders had intentionally left the chambers in a "pro forma session" over Christmas so the White House couldn’t pull this stunt.
Turns out, the President has about as much regard for congressional rules as he has for the Constitution’s. With a "We can’t wait!" banner hanging in the background, he lashed out at House and Senate leaders for not doing more to rubber-stamp his agenda. "We decided to take matters into our own hands," he promised. Those "matters" include the appointment of Richard Cordray to the recently created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Senate had blocked his nomination, because, like so much of this administration, he doesn’t report to anyone. As the Wall Street Journal points out, Cordray can set his own budget, oversee "nonbank institutions," and regulate consumer products with zero congressional accountability or input.
The other three "recess" appointments are a part of the National Labor Relations Board, and although the President had brought their names up to the Senate, he gave the chamber less than 10 hours to pull together a confirmation hearing. If the White House wanted to pick a fight with Congress, it succeeded. Republican leaders uniformly blasted the President this morning, with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) even threatening to sue. For now, the courts may be the members’ only remedy. The President’s attorneys will argue that the pro forma session "isn’t a real congressional session." But, as the Wall Street Journal notes, "that isn’t the view that Mr. Reid or then-Senator Obama took in 2007-08, and it would certainly be an extension of presidential power for the chief executive to be able to tell Congress that he can decide when Congress is really sitting and when it isn’t." Sen. Harry Reid invented these pro-forma sessions in 2007 to stop President Bush’s recess appointments. Now that his party is in power, they’re a legislative gimmick?
"Unless Nancy Pelosi is speaker again," the President said in September, "I’d like to work my way around Congress." Who is he kidding? The President solidified his reputation for heavy-handedness when Pelosi was Speaker. Remember, this is a man who built his presidency on circumventing Congress with dozens of controversial "czars" and executive orders. At least now the President is finally admitting that he is systematically testing the boundaries of the Constitution and looking for weak areas to push his agenda through. In an era when too much power is already centralized in the Executive Branch, that’s a dangerous proposition. As he siphons off more of Congress’s authority for his own, he may as well take battering ram to the separation of powers. And until a principled core rises up and says "enough!," the President will not wait–not on Congress, not on the law, and certainly not for permission.
Planned Parenthood: Profit of Doom
Plenty of American businesses are hurting, but unfortunately, Planned Parenthood isn’t one of them. The abortion giant just released its annual report, and it looks like the government helped the organization to another record year. For the first time ever, Planned Parenthood is reporting more than a billion dollars in total net assets. Its revenue was over a billion dollars and almost of half of it (46 percent) came courtesy of U.S. taxpayers. The organization also had a nice $18.5 million profit! As more states aggressively step in to defund Planned Parenthood, it seems the Obama administration has been just as aggressive at filling in the gap. Interestingly enough, while the government’s contributions are up ($487.4 million), private donations have dropped a stunning 28 percent.
Maybe the dark side of the abortion industry is finally resonating with people. Just this past week, Maryland authorities arrested two doctors on charges similar to Kermit Gosnell, who also stashed dozens of aborted fetuses in his clinic’s freezer. In this case, the babies were almost full-term, leading to charges of first- and second-degree murder. While Planned Parenthood was not involved in either case, the organization has actively fought to keep these clinics operating without state oversight or stronger safety standards. Meanwhile, business is booming for Cecile Richards’s group, which is responsible for more than 329,000 abortions in 2010 alone. Although the group insists our tax dollars go to programs that improve women’s health, it does admit that 91% of its "pregnancy services" involved the taking of innocent human life. As far as Obama-Richards’ team is concerned, abortion is health care.
I’m Pro-Life Because…
As part of FRC’s Sanctity of Life month, we’re collecting images for the "I’m Pro-Life because…" campaign. In the few weeks since we announced the initiative, we’ve been excited by the overwhelming response. Our office has already been flooded with unique images and stories. One very beautiful picture is that of the Olivia Grace Somerville. Her Grandfather John Sommerville writes, "Olivia was born nine weeks early weighing 3 lbs 2 oz with severe club feet. Her left foot was turned 180 degrees from normal. After one surgery and a short time in corrective shoes, Olivia is an active five-year-old with no signs of her original condition." The image submitted was taken on Olivia’s 5th birthday, holding her baby-picture from when was a new born in the Neo-Natal unit. If you’d like to get involved like the Sommervilles, click here.
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