In Defense of “We the People”

In the People’s House, Republicans stand firm in our defense of what House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers often calls the “We, the People” mandate contained in our Constitution.

What’s known formally as Article I of the U.S. Constitution spells out a system – a balance of power – which gives the American people a voice in our government through our representatives in Congress.

Republicans’ latest effort to defend that “We, the People” mandate came just days ago when the People’s House fought back against President Obama’s executive overreach and moved to file a historic brief in support of Article I of the Constitution.  Here’s a closer look at what Republicans are saying:

  • “This president has taken it upon himself to simply ignore certain statutes, selectively enforce others or bypass the legislative process entirely to create law by executive fiat,” says Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman of the House Rules Committee. “Because of this precise constitutional question pending before the Supreme Court, we believe the House is uniquely positioned to consider this resolution and respond in a way that reaffirms our commitment to protecting our Article I legislative powers on behalf of the American people and on behalf of representative self-government. Today’s debate on the House Floor offered compelling examples of how this president has utterly failed time and time again to fulfill his duty under Article II, section 3 of the Constitution to ‘take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.’ If he won’t, we must.”
  • Says Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), “This is not about politics. This is about the Constitution of the United States, and it is very clear.  It says the President ‘shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.’” 
  • Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Vice Chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, says,Last year, President Obama decided to ignore the United States Constitution and attempted to govern through his pen rather than by the law, allowing millions of illegal immigrants to stay in America in the process. Yet, the courts have consistently struck down the President’s unconstitutional executive overreach. I will continue to fight against the President’s unlawful executive actions and remind him that our government is a system of checks and balances – he cannot act alone.” 
  • “The people’s duly elected representatives in Congress cannot sit silent as the Executive Branch continues to overstep its constitutional authority,” Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) says. 
  • As Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) points out, “The submission of a brief demonstrates that the House of Representatives is dedicated to upholding the rule of law and the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution. Congress is responsible for writing the laws of this country, not the President.” 
  • “By raising this question, the Supreme Court has made U.S. v. Texas into a potentially important Article I versus Article II case that could determine future powers – or limits on those powers – of the executive and legislative branches of government,” notes Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA).  “Since the case could impact the separation of powers and system of checks and balances, the House resolution authorizes the Speaker to submit a brief that will defend Congress’s Article I power as the sole body authorized to make the laws of the land.  The president has repeatedly ignored Congress and stretched executive authority beyond its breaking point … the people of the United States don’t elect a king, they elect a president and a Congress, and they each have their constitutional roles to play.” 
  • Rep. Bill Huizenga says, “ … the House has voted to file a motion with the Supreme Court to defend its Article I powers as defined by the Constitution. The Constitution is clear; the authority to make law resides within the legislative branch, not the executive. Recent actions by the Obama Administration have not only blurred the line on this important separation of power, but have crossed it. By taking this unprecedented action, the House has gone on record to defend the principles of self-determination, self-government, and government by consent of the governed.”