In the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol hangs a painting depicting Gen. George Washington resigning his commission as commander in chief to the Continental Congress in 1783, one of the greatest acts of statesmanship in our history.
Washington’s display of humility was also a demonstration of restraint. When Gen. Washington could have continued on like a king over our young country he put the country first, solidifying our nation as a republic under the command of the people, not of one.
President Obama could stand to take a lesson in restraint and serving the greater good from George Washington. In his time as president, Obama has demonstrated the opposite of Washington. He has put the wishes of one — himself — over the people. He has acted like a king, ignoring the will of the people and using his “phone and pen” to take action when the people don’t do what he wants.
He has run roughshod over the Constitution, violating the separation of powers by using unlawful executive actions to get around Congress and change the law as he sees fit.
The president’s job is to enforce the laws, not to write or rewrite them. Unfortunately, politics have gotten in the way of statesmanship, and when the White House wants to make a politically driven change that Congress does not agree to, the president goes around the will of the people and does it anyway.
We cannot stand for such a violation of our Constitution and the undermining of the very foundation of our nation and form of government. That is why the House of Representatives is taking action to stand up for the rights of the people and enforce the constitutional balance of powers.
The House will file a lawsuit with the federal court opposing actions President Obama took to change the health care law’s employer mandate without congressional authority.
While this lawsuit narrowly focuses on the changes President Obama has made to the health care law, it is about much more than that. It is about defending our Constitution. It is about ensuring that Congress, the House of the People, maintains its constitutional authority, that we preserve our system of government for future generations.
Democrats will call this a political stunt, a waste of time. It is not. It is our most fundamental responsibility as Members of Congress, who took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.
If we are to continue on as a successful democracy, we cannot allow a president to take more power than the Constitution granted them. We must take the necessary action in order to ensure our institutions remain balanced and powers remain separate. Anything less is a shirking of our ultimate responsibility to our nation, the American people and our Constitution.
U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, represents the 9th Congressional District, which includes Indiana County.