Boehner: President Can’t Change the Law

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In an interview with Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures, Speaker of the House John Boehner touched on a number of issues, including the inactivity of Congress during the first 100 days. To that issue, he rejected the notion that the House has been passive, insisting that they had passed several bills that were currently awaiting votes in the Senate.

But it was when the interview turned to President Obama’s executive actions on amnesty that Boehner went on the attack. “Presidents have the ability to take executive action,” he said, “but they don’t have the ability to change the law.” He said that Obama had crossed that line not only on illegal immigration but also on changes made to the Affordable Care Act.

Unfortunately, this never-say-die version of John Boehner only seems to appear when there is a microphone in front of him. The president may not be authorized to change the law, but he’s certainly not being stopped by the likes of Boehner. If the name of the game was to criticize the president at every opportunity, Boehner would go down in history as the most effective Speaker to ever take office. But it doesn’t matter how many times you declare Obama’s amnesty unconstitutional if you actively fund it when pressured to do so.

Boehner and the rest of the Republican congress seems to have adopted a very strange strategy for 2015. It starts with making promises to the voters, it continues with vigorous congressional opposition, and it concludes with utter and complete surrender when the going gets tough. By using this playbook, Republicans have managed to hold on to the “obstructionist” label without, you know, actually stopping anything. At least if they just caved at the outset, they could strut around and claim to be the party that brought an end to Washington gridlock. By doing things this way, they have changed from the “party of no” to the party of “we’re just saying no for a while to please the voters.”

To put the cherry on top, the GOP leadership wants to rally around a guy like Jeb Bush. A guy who is willing to play to the corporations while dabbling in a liberal agenda on everything else. In ordinary times, that might not be the worst choice. But we are not in ordinary times. We are coming to the end of the Obama Era, and we need someone who can save this country from years of bad policy. Not just bad financial policy. That’s only part of what ails America.

Republicans talk to the press as if they understand the stakes. As if they understand that voters want real, meaningful changes at the top. But when they get behind closed doors, they figure they can just put those changes on hold while they set the stage for the next Republican president. If they don’t wake up pretty soon, there isn’t going to be a next Republican anything.