With immigration advocates pressuring the president to slow deportations, House Republicans moved Thursday to curtail President Barack Obama's use of executive powers.
The House approved the Republican-sponsored bills, ENFORCE the Law Act, Wednesday, 233-181. The bill would speed up lawsuits filed against the administration for not enforcing U.S. law. It also was to debate the Faithful Execution of the Law Act, which would put new congressional requirements on agency officials to ensure they enforce laws.
President Barack Obama threatened to veto the both bills saying the ENFORCE bill violates constitutional separation of powers and the second bill requires agencies do what the law already requires.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said the balance of power in the federal government was descending toward chaos under Obama.
"From gutting welfare reform and No Child Left Behind requirements, to refusing to enforce immigration and drug laws, the president's dangerous search for expanded powers appears to be endless," Cantor said on the House floor.
Virginia GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte, House Judiciary chairman, said Obama had gone beyond the executive power granted the president.
Democrats said Republicans were seeking to usurp power that had been used by past presidents for such things as issuing the Emancipation Proclamation.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., quoted a section from a letter he had enlarged and brought to the floor, in which the letter writers asked why immigration officials pursued removal in certain cases "when so many other more serious cases existed?" Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas was among the signers, Gutierrez said. Obama used his executive power to direct DHS to prioritize deportations, which has come under fire with the GOP.