Bob Goodlatte: Obamacare ruling a victory for the Constitution
There was a big victory for the United States Constitution in Washington this week. In an historic decision, a federal judge ruled in favor of the separation of powers in the Constitution and the voice of the American people in the legislative process.
While President Obama may have forgotten, the American people know that it is Congress who writes our laws, not the White House. However, the President has acted unconstitutionally on many occasions to rewrite our laws. Back in 2014, for the first time ever, the House of Representatives passed a resolution allowing the House to file a lawsuit against President Obama for his failure to faithfully execute the laws.
Now, as a result of this lawsuit, a federal judge ruled in favor of the People’s House that the Obama Administration unlawfully funded parts of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, by using money that was never approved by Congress for that purpose. The Constitution is clear that Congress has the power of the purse – the President cannot spend Americans’ money on his own terms. Nevertheless, he has spent billions of taxpayer dollars, which Congress never approved for this purpose, to implement Obamacare.
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board clearly outlined what is at stake with this ruling, “If a President can combine the legislative power to spend with the power to execute the laws, he can ignore Congress and govern by whim.” By siding with the House’s lawsuit, the court made it clear that no president has the authority to bypass Congress. It is an important step toward restoring the power of the people through their elected representatives.
This fight isn’t about partisan politics; it’s about preserving our Republic and protecting individual liberty. If the President is allowed to change laws by himself and use money that has not been appropriated by Congress, he and future presidents can be expected to change more laws that affect Americans’ rights and tax dollars. Our Founding Fathers did not want a king. Instead, they established three branches of government, which would be separate, but equal.
The White House is expected to appeal the ruling, and I urge the courts to stand firm and uphold the rule of law. The President is sworn to defend the Constitution and enforce the laws Congress writes. As Members of Congress, we too are called to defend the Constitution, and we’re also called to be the lawmaking body that represents the American people. This lawsuit is only part of the House’s work to stop executive overreach, and we will continue working to check the President’s power grabs. Both the legislative and judicial branches must put a stop to the executive branch’s abuse of power so that we preserve our system of government for generations to come.
Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth District of Virginia in Congress.