H.R. 3973: Faithful Execution of the Law Act of 2014

H.R. 3973

Faithful Execution of the Law Act of 2014

Date
March 12, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, March 12, 2014 the House will begin consideration of H.R. 3973, the Faithful Execution of the Law Act of 2014, under a rule.  H.R. 3973 was introduced on January 29, 2014 by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.  The bill was marked up on March 5, 2014 and was ordered reported by a vote of 17-11.[1]

Bill Summary

H.R. 3973 amends federal law to require the Attorney General to report to Congress any time a federal official establishes or implements a formal or informal policy to refrain from enforcing any provisions of federal law.

Background

The Constitution requires the President to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”[1]  It effectively directs the President to enforce all constitutionally valid laws, regardless of the Administration’s views on the policies contained therein.  Despite this constitutional requirement, “President Obama has failed on numerous occasions to enforce Acts of Congress that he disagrees with for policy reasons and has stretched his regulatory authority to put in place policies that Congress has refused to enact.”[2]  Instead of working with Congress to amend the law, the President simply has refused to enforce the law on a range of issues including immigration, education policy, and ObamaCare, waiving requirements plainly contained in the law and instructing officials to refrain from enforcing provisions.[3]  “Although President Obama is not the first president to stretch his powers beyond their constitutional limits, executive overreach has accelerated at an alarming rate under his Administration.”[4]

Current law requires the Attorney General to report to Congress any time a Department of Justice official establishes or implements a policy to refrain from enforcing the law on the grounds that such provision is unconstitutional.[5]  H.R. 3973 expands the law in two ways, making it applicable to all federal officials and all non-enforcement policies.  In sum, the bill requires a report to Congress when any federal official establishes or implements a non-enforcement policy, regardless of the grounds of non-enforcement.  The bill enables Congress to work to maintain the separation of powers and to ensure the President faithfully executes the law.



[1] U.S. Const. art. II, § 3.

[2] Committee Report 113-376 at 2.

[3] Id.

[4] Id. at 2-3.

[5] Id. at 3.

Cost

According to CBO estimates, implementing H.R. 3973 would not affect direct spending or revenues.

Amendments

1)         Rep. Ellison (D-MN) Amendment #2 – Amendment waives reporting requirements provided in the bill if sufficient funds are not available to generate the increased volume of reports.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.