Kentucky voices

Alexander Wheeler: Suing the president a stunt that won't break House gridlock

July 9, 2014 

Alexander Wheeler is a senior history major at the University of Kentucky.

By Alexander Wheeler

House Speaker John Boehner recently penned an op-ed discussing a historic piece of legislation to be brought to the House floor.

Comprehensive immigration reform? Nope. A major addendum to the Affordable Care Act? No chance. A national minimum wage hike? Wrong again. A new federal law for LGBT rights? Yeah, right. Student loan reform, gun control or pollution control? No. No. No.

The legislation, he said, is so the House can sue the president of the United States so as to "compel President Obama to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country."

What does this mean exactly? No one really knows. All that is known is that it has never been done before, and it is rooted in the president's desire to not waste eight years in office because of a gridlocked Congress.

Boehner said our president has exceeded his constitutionally authority by using his power to issue executive orders. The speaker mentions lots of history and the importance of separation of the various branches of government. What he fails to mention, is the reason for President Barack Obama's activism: House GOP/Tea Party members. Elected through rampant gerrymandering, many have so secured their re-elections that they feel comfortable saying "no" to any bill unless it solely contains what they want.

This lawsuit highlights many problems, not the least of which is for the GOP itself.

As these proceedings will most certainly not result in any changes in regard to the president's pursuit of advancing the Democratic Party's policies, it must be categorized as a stunt. And a frustrating one at that.

This suit represents both a plea for unity within a fractured party and a death knell for any and all progressive legislation until either Democrats reclaim both houses of Congress while keeping the presidency or independent, bipartisan congressional redistricting occurs. Neither appears likely in the near future.

Do I think increasing the power of the executive branch is the best answer to congressional gridlock? Nope. The best answer would be compromise to pass realistic legislation. However, since the GOP refuses to take two presidential elections as notice that the country is moving in a progressive direction, I don't see that happening.

So, until the GOP can escape its self-imposed 1920s time warp, I send my regards to the president and wish him the best of luck.

Alexander Wheeler is a senior history major at the University of Kentucky.

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