Sen. Mike Johanns says he has observed a disturbing trend in the three-plus years President Obama has been in office.
Johanns, a Republican, says he has nothing personal against Obama, a Democrat, who he has only met a handful of times. He worries, though, about how Obama runs the executive branch.
“I do believe that its direction for the country is really wrong,” Johanns tells Nebraska Radio Network. “I just see too many things where he does things that, quite honestly, are at the constitutional limits. The recess appointments would be a perfect example of that, the way his departments are operating.”
The president angered Congressional Republicans in January by issuing recess appointments for Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as well as three nominees to serve on the National Labor Relations Board while the Senate held pro-forma sessions. Republicans contended Obama didn’t have the authority to use the power of a recess appointment, because the Senate wasn’t in recess. A lawsuit has been filed challenging the appointments.
Johanns contends the president purposely misled the country on the cost of the federal health care overhaul, officially named The Affordable Health Care Act and derisively called Obamacare by critics. When Congress approved the bill in 2010, its 10-year price tag was forecast at $938 billion, but little of the bill took effect in 2010 and 2011. A revised forecast by the Congressional Budget Office now pegs the cost at $1.76 trillion over the next 10 years.
Much of Johanns’ criticism is reserved for the departments and agencies that operate within the executive branch, the administration as it is known in Washington. Johanns served in the Bush Administration as Secretary of Agriculture and claims the USDA declined to write rules and enact regulations unless it had clear authority from Congress.
He claims the Obama Administration doesn’t share such a cautious approach.
“What this administration has done, is it has in case after case after case taken a limited grant of authority that they have been given and then stretched it to the extreme,” according to Johanns.
Johanns points to the Environmental Protection Agency as an example. He charges the EPA has taken the limited authority granted under the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and expanded it far beyond the intention of Congress.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]