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.
According to FoxNews.com/AP; July 23, 2012
House Republicans said Monday they were “disappointed” with the Obama administration’s plan to waive mandatory work requirements for welfare and questioned the legal grounds being used to make such changes.
The one-page letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also states the administration is instead intent upon increasing Americans’ reliance on welfare and other government programs.
The work requirements in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families legislation were signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996.
The letter points out the addition of the work requirement had bipartisan support in Congress and that President Clinton upon signing them said the act “honors my basic principles or real welfare reform.”
The changes were detailed in a July 12 “information memorandum” from HHS telling states they could seek a waiver from the TANF program's strict work requirements.
Among the legal questions raised in the lawmakers’ letter Monday to Sebelius were whether waivers are applicable to the Social Security Act and what legal authority allows for such “underlying flexibility in federal law.”
President Obama and The Senate Leadership vs. The Constitution
Constitution; Article 2 - 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.
Constitution; Article 2 - Section 3
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
Constitution; Article I - Section 3 (excerpt)
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law.
We the People:
The process of modifying a bill is among the powers of the legislature per Article I. The powers of the president listed in Article 2 include executing laws, but he may not modify a bill without a vote from both houses of the legislature. This change to an existing law is a clear breach of the separation of powers. If the senate leaders were as loyal to the Constitution as to their party, they would enforce checks and balances.
Why would President Obama violate the Constitution over this? Was it a give-away for votes?