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Letter to the Editor: House lawsuit has questionable motives

on August 19, 2014 10:19 AM

On Aug. 11, the Gazette carried an explanation by Congressman Bill Shuster (“The rights of many over the will of one”) regarding the House lawsuit against President Obama.

But the lawsuit’s motivations still strike me as suspect, because under the last administration, certain actions by President Bush mirrored what Obama is now being sued for, and Republicans took no issue with them.

To my knowledge, there are two fundamental motivations driving this lawsuit: Obama’s use of executive orders to circumvent Congress, and his alteration of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandates without congressional approval.

Obama has indeed issued many executive orders: 183 as of July 20. But interestingly, Bush issued 291 over his two terms, an average of roughly 36 orders per year to Obama’s 33. While Obama is hardly blameless in the use of executive orders, I fail to see how Bush was any different.

Republicans also took issue with Obama’s waiving of the employer mandate from the health care law without congressional approval.

But again, Bush did something quite similar during the implementation of Medicare Part D by waiving penalties for low-income seniors. I don’t fault Bush for this, but he did it without congressional approval as well, and I fail to see how this significantly differs from Obama’s waiving of the health care law’s employer mandates.

In both cases, Republicans had no issue with Bush for actions that, when committed by Obama, they liken to tyranny.

Shuster assures us that the lawsuit is no political stunt, but given this inconsistency, I find that difficult to believe.

Bush issued executive orders at a higher rate than Obama, and bypassed Congress to alter legislation, an action similar to what is now getting Obama sued.

To me, it’s very suspicious that Republicans perceive these actions as a thunderous trampling of the Constitution when committed by Obama, but not when they were committed by Bush. Thus, while I cannot judge the legal merits of the lawsuit, I’m very skeptical of its motivations.

And with due respect to the congressman, it’s frustrating to hear talk of “our ultimate responsibility to our nation,” considering the overwhelming unproductivity of the Congress he serves in.

Luke Piper


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