The midterm elections are completed with less than a handful of vote tallies remaining. As we all know, Republicans have won control of both the House and Senate – AND, as we all should have known already, Ted Cruz (R-TX) is going nuts at the thought of power.
Cruz’ main attack so far has been tossing about a lot of
rhetoric hot air about fending off Obama’s promised executive actions regarding immigration reform. I won’t get into the particulars here, but New Republic has an outstanding piece on the president’s intentions if you want to check out the particulars.
And to his credit, Obama has come out swinging on the issue, fiercely determined to change the immigration system in light of continued inaction by Congress. In a post-election press conference on Wednesday, Obama addressed the issue head-on stating:
“I have no doubt that there will be some Republicans who are angered or frustrated by any executive action that I may take. Those are folks, I just have to say, who are also deeply opposed to immigration reform, in any form, and blocked the House from being able to pass a bipartisan bill.
“The best way, if folks are serious about getting immigration reform done, is going ahead and passing a bill and getting it to my desk. And then the executive actions that I take go away.”
Cruz, along with Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) Mike Lee (R-UT) Pat Roberts (R-KS) Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and David Vitter (R-LA) followed this up with a letter to current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV):
“to express [their] alarm with President Obama’s announced intention to take unilateral executive action by the end of this year to lawlessly grant amnesty to immigrants who have entered the country illegally.”
Cruz & Co. go on in their letter to
“offer our full assistance in ensuring expeditious Senate debate and passage for a measure that preserves the power of Congress by blocking any action the President may take to violate the Constitution and unilaterally grant amnesty; however, should you [Harry Reid] decline to defend the Senate and the Constitution from executive overreach, the undersigned Senators will use all procedural means necessary to return the Senate’s focus during the lame duck session to resolving the constitutional crisis created by President Obama’s lawless amnesty.”
As CNBC reports,
Executive orders are as old as the U.S. Constitution itself and usually steeped in controversy.
Every president, from George Washington to Obama, has used them. More than 13,000, in one form or another, have been issued since 1789.
While there is no specific provision in the Constitution that permits them, there is a “grant of executive power” given in Article II of the Constitution,
But here’s the thing. There really isn’t much of anything Ted Cruz or his gang can do to stop Obama from taking those promised executive actions.
In theory Republicans can overturn those directives, but in the country’s current political situation any such efforts would be doomed to failure.
Basically, there are two avenues Republicans (most likely led by Cruz or some other ultra-conservative numbskull) could take to ward off executive action: they could impeach the president or vote to overturn the president’s action/order. However, both would be doomed for essentially the same reason:
Republicans don’t have enough votes.
As Washington Examiner points out, any attempt to impeach Obama would be doomed to failure:
Even if House Republicans gathered the 218 votes required to bring articles of impeachment — a far-fetched scenario — conviction in the Senate requires a two-thirds vote, or 67 votes. There are now 45 Republicans in the Senate. In 1999, when the GOP impeached Bill Clinton, Republicans held 55 Senate seats, and got 50 votes to convict the president. So impeachment will not succeed now, any more than it did then.
What about overturning the order itself through an act of Congress? Again, conservatives simply don’t have the numbers to prevail.
Sure, if the executive order is based on a statute Congress could simply change the statute, thereby nullifying the order. Were that to happen, all Obama would need to do is veto the bill. Congress can only override a veto “with a two-thirds majority of the number of members present in both the Senate and the House when the override vote is taken.”
The same would hold true if Obama elects to issue a “policy directive” instead of an executive action like he did with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative that directed the Department of Homeland Security to “exercise prosecutorial discretion as appropriate to ensure that enforcement resources are not expended on low priority cases, such as individuals who came to the United States as children.”
President Obama has vowed to aggressively address immigration concerns before the end of the year. As to Republican efforts to block those anticipated actions, as Bill Clinton might say: