This column presents facts regarding the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Wisconsin State Constitution, and various other documents in reference to modern topics. Mark hopes to encourage interest in those works so that others can consider whether our government is practicing within its constitutional limits. In the last category, he may indicate his opinion. Mark is a resident of New Berlin. Readers are encouraged to visit the following sites for more information on the United States Constitution and Thomas Jefferson's views on politics and government.
Published December 24, 2010 |FoxNews /Associated Press (full article available on-line)
Stymied in Congress, the Obama administration is moving unilaterally to clamp down on power plant and oil refinery greenhouse emissions, announcing plans for developing new standards over the next year.
In a statement posted on the agency's website late Thursday, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson said the aim was to better cope with pollution contributing to climate change.
President Barack Obama had said two days after the midterm elections that he was disappointed Congress hadn't acted on legislation achieving the same end, signaling that other options were under consideration.
On climate change, legislation in Congress putting a limit on heat-trapping greenhouse gases and allowing companies to buy and sell pollution permits under that ceiling — a system known as "cap and trade" — stalled in the Senate earlier this year after narrowly clearing the House. Republicans assailed it as "cap and tax," arguing that it would raise energy prices.
But the Senate in late June rejected by a 53-47 vote a challenge brought by Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski that would have denied the EPA the authority to move ahead with the rules.
The EPA also announced Thursday that it was taking the unprecedented step of directly issuing air permits to industries in Texas, citing the state's unwillingness to comply with greenhouse gas regulations going into effect Jan. 2. EPA officials said they reluctantly were taking over Clean Air Act Permits for greenhouse gas emissions because "officials in Texas have made clear they have no intention of implementing this portion of the federal air permitting program."
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According to US Constitution.net;
Executive Orders have two main functions: to modify how an executive branch department or agency does its job (rule change) or to modify existing law, if such authority has been granted to the President by Congress. Executive orders are not mentioned by the Constitution, but they have been around a long, long time. George Washington issued several Presidential Proclamations, which are similar to EO's (Proclamations are still issued today)….
Separation of Powers vs. Executive branch
US Constitution, Article II, Section 2,
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
We the People:
The powers of the executive branch are essentially limited to those mentioned above. Only Congress can define a pollutant, and it has done so regarding carbon dioxide. Ruling by decree is for kings. Executive orders which exceed the authority granted by Congress are America’s equivalent, and many presidents have abused them.
We have “no king but Jesus” was a slogan of the colonial Christians. Our national heritage guides us to take action against such rule.