Northern New York Newspapers
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NNY Living
Sun., Aug. 30
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Wasted votes


It’s a sure bet that an election is around the corner if Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives waste time on useless items.

Last week, the House passed a bill to grease the path for congressional lawsuits against President Barack Obama for failing to enforce federal laws. The measure passed by a vote of 233-181, which is a clear victory for the art of spouting political platitudes. The issues of most concern are the numerous changes made to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, some decisions made regarding illegal immigrants and the administration’s reluctance to stick up for the Defense of Marriage Act.

The problem is that, like any bill, this measure would need to be approved by the U.S. Senate and then signed by President Obama. The odds of it making it through the Senate are, let’s say, zero.

But for the sake of argument, if the Senate suddenly became a mythical place populated by fairies and unicorns who decided to pass the bill themselves, what are the chances it would be signed into law by the president? Hmmm, let’s see. Is there are any motivation for President Obama to place his signature on a bill that would make it easier for members of Congress to sue him on the charge of not doing his job? Nope.

It’s not that the Republicans don’t have some valid points in their concerns about President Obama’s actions. The many changes made to the health care reform law are unnerving, to say the least. Whenever the administration runs into a roadblock, members announce some changes to assuage the angst of impacted constituents.

Some of these changes, however, have been put into effect through congressional action. The question remains on whether President Obama has the authority to make executive decisions or administrative revisions that alter the ACA. These are points of law that courts must decide, and we have to let that process play itself out.

As for the DOMA, the Obama administration has wisely opted not to defend it in court against legal challenges. The U.S. Supreme Court last year found its key provision unconstitutional. And since previous Republican presidential administrations have declined to defend laws that they found objectionable, the GOP House members don’t have a leg to stand on here.

Republican members of the House should spend more time improving the health care law and our immigration policies rather than passing bills that are on a road to nowhere. But that would take real work, and who has time for work when they’re in the middle of a re-election campaign?

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