By Brian Carey on August 9, 2013
During his press conference today, President Obama was asked by Fox News Channel’s Ed Henry about ObamaCare. The President answered the question by saying that it’s the Republicans’ fault that he had to violate the Constitution.
Here is Ed Henry’s very sensible question: “October 1st, you’re going to implement your signature health care law. You recently decided on your own to delay a key part of that. And I wonder, if you pick and choose what parts of the law to implement, couldn’t your successor down the road pick and choose whether they’ll implement your law and keep it in place?”
Mr. Henry also asked about Benghazi, but we’ll leave that for another article. We’ll focus on the President’s answer to the above question here.
Here’s how President Obama started the ObamaCare answer: “I didn’t simply choose to delay this on my own. This was in consultation with businesses all across the country, many of whom are supportive of the Affordable Care Act, but — and who — many of whom, by the way, are already providing health insurance to their employees but were concerned about the operational details of changing their HR operations if they’ve got a lot of employees, which could be costly for them, and them suggesting that there may be easier ways to do this.”
In other words, President Obama consulted with business leaders before he decided to violate the Constitution. He violated the Constitution, of course, by changing the law on his own. He’s not allowed to do that. Congress passed a law that said that the employer mandate will begin on January 1, 2014. President Obama pushed it back one full year without any approval from Congress.
However, the President’s excuse for violating the Constitution gets even better. He blamed Republicans. Here is what he said: “Now what’s true, Ed, is that in a normal political environment, it would have been easier for me to simply call up the speaker and say, you know what? This is a tweak that doesn’t go to the essence of the law. It has to do with, for example, are we able to simplify the attestation of employers as to whether they’re already providing health insurance or not. It looks like there may be some better ways to do this. Let’s make a technical change of the law. That would be the normal thing that I would prefer to do, but we’re not in a normal atmosphere around here when it comes to, quote- unquote, Obamacare.”
So it’s the “political environment” that enabled President Obama to change a law by executive fiat? We must have forgot about that provision in the U.S. Constitution that enables a president to change laws on his own because the “political environment” isn’t favorable to his wishes.
On this point, President Obama concludes: “We did have the executive authority to do so, and we did so. But this doesn’t go to the core of implementation.”
No, he didn’t have the authority to change the law by executive authority. The fact that he even discussed changing it by the normal legislative process if the “political environment” was more favorable demonstrates that even he believed that Congressional involvement was necessary to change the law.