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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Congressman Jason Smith Capitol Report: Holding the Executive Branch Accountable

  • As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, this week I participated in an oversight hearing for the United States Department of Justice. Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the committee about a variety of issues. When my turn came to question Attorney General Holder, I asked him if states do not have to comply w...
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  • As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, this week I participated in an oversight hearing for the United States Department of Justice. Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the committee about a variety of issues. When my turn came to question Attorney General Holder, I asked him if states do not have to comply with federal drug laws, why should they have to comply with ObamaCare? Unfortunately the Attorney General deflected my question. The Obama-Holder Justice Department does not have the authority to pick and choose which laws they want to enforce. The Constitution is clear – Congress has the duty to write laws and, once they are enacted, it is the executive branch’s responsibility to enforce the laws. Article II, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution declares that the executive “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” However, President Obama and Attorney General Holder have failed on multiple occasions to enforce acts of Congress that he disagrees with.
    Judiciary Committee members pressed Attorney General Holder on his refusal to enforce federal immigration laws. The Attorney General was asked about his failure to enforce federal drug laws. Committee members asked the Attorney General about the legality of delaying the ObamaCare individual mandate for special interests. And finally, the Attorney General was asked about the Obama Administration ignoring welfare work requirements, a clear violation of the 1996 welfare reform law.
    Just last month, the House of Representatives passed the Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments of the Law Act or ENFORCE the Law Act to restore balance to the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution. The ENFORCE the Law Act allows the House or the Senate to authorize a lawsuit against the Executive Branch for failure to execute the laws. The House also passed the Faithful Execution of the Law Act to strengthen current laws and to ensure that all federal executive officials fully execute the laws on the books. The Faithful Execution of the Law Act promotes transparency and honesty by requiring all federal executive officials who are not enforcing federal law to report to Congress on their reasoning for non-enforcement.
    The Obama-Holder Justice Department has failed time and time again to uphold Article II, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution that says the executive “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” I remain committed to working with my colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee to hold Attorney General Holder accountable and restore the balance of power outlined in the Constitution.
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