Court Prunes Executive Branch

Barb Wire

The president isn’t part of the legislative branch, but after the last eight years, you wouldn’t know it! The most lawless administration doesn’t believe in checks and balances — just checks, of taxpayer dollars to efforts never authorized by Congress. Not surprisingly, the House and Senate don’t appreciate someone bulldozing their constitutional authority and have sued the administration plenty of times to prove it. The latest example was another legal battle over Obamacare, which the president exploited to spend money never approved by Congress.

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer slapped down the White House’s overreach, ruling that it was unconstitutional to funnel billions of dollars to health care subsidies without the House’s consent. “Congress authorized reduced cost-sharing but did not appropriate monies for it,” Collyer wrote in her 38-page ruling. “Congress is the only source for such an appropriation, and no public money can be spent without one.” With so much uncertainty about the law, the president needed to entice insurance companies to participate, so he agreed to compensate them for keeping the pricing as low as Obamacare demands.

There’s just one snag: Congress controls the public purse. Tired of being trampled by a power-hungry president, House Republicans sued as a check on the runaway power of the White House. “BIG win for the Constitution,” Speaker Ryan tweeted after the opinion was handed down. With heavyweights like UnitedHealth and Humana already taking a step back from the law, this helps to bring even more uncertainty to Obamacare’s shaky future.

For most conservatives, though, the debate is about a lot more than the law’s intricate cost-sharing. It’s about an administration that continues to rewrite the law to suit its agenda. We witnessed it with the abortion mandate, which is still gumming up the judicial system. But just like his illegal recess appointments, immigration orders, and gun guidelines, thankfully there are some courts that will not sit back and allow President Obama run roughshod over Congress and the Constitution.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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