This month, I introduced legislation to censure President Barack Obama for his executive overreach that violates our Second Amendment rights. Censure is the strongest possible action Congress can take short of impeaching the president, and preserves Congress as a co-equal branch of government.
However, the editorial that was printed last week in the Sun Herald vilified my resolution without having, or asking for, any of the facts. So here are the facts.
For seven years, the president has gradually expanded his powers through executive overreach. His actions last week to take away the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens is just the latest, if not most egregious, violation of the separation of powers found in the United States Constitution.
His persistent sidestepping of the elected representatives of this nation is dangerous, unconstitutional, and violates the separation of powers enshrined by the framers in our governing documents, and it is contrary to who we are as a people. It must end.
Some believe I oppose President Obama; but, it's not about this president or the next president. It's about any president who uses executive action to ignore the law, fail to enforce the law, or create his own law without the proper Article I input from Congress.
The American people demand that Congress fight back against this president's overreach. My constituents OVERWHELMINGLY demand that Congress fight back. That is why I acted to censure the president. Not for politics, but to preserve the very institution of Congress I am humbly honored to serve.
Further, it would be naïve to believe that my resolution to censure the president is the only thing on the list of priorities. Last week's editorial asked that instead we solve the highway funding dilemma. I'm glad this was acknowledged because it gives me the opportunity to inform you that in fact Congress DID, with my support, pass the first long-term highway bill in a decade, providing much-needed stability to our road builders.
The editorial also said I should focus on veterans. As a veteran I have, and we have results to back it up. When the wait-time scandal happened, we held forums across South Mississippi with veterans and asked how we fix this problem. Then Congress increased the VA budget by tens of billions and created the Veterans' Choice program, where veterans can see a doctor of their choice if the VA is unable to assist them.
While you may not have had the opportunity to read about it, Congress also passed the 2016 government funding bill that protects our military assets here in South Mississippi. That bill increased funding for the military over the president's objections, ensured our C-130s at Keesler remain here long-term, keep our Guard Apaches in Mississippi, procures a ninth National Security Cutter, the LHA-8, LPD-28, and LX(R) all built at Ingalls and worth thousands of local jobs. None of this would be possible without the work of our delegation on the Appropriations Committee.
And we've done all this while sticking to our conservative principles. During the first week of 2016, Congress passed and sent to the president a bill that stripped key components of Obamacare and defunded Planned Parenthood entirely. This was a direct result of hearing outrage from the American people who, under Obamacare, have not only lost their access to affordable, quality healthcare but had also endured gross violations of their religious liberties.
It was the first time Congress has been able to send an Obamacare repeal bill to the president since it was signed into law, and proves that with a Republican president in office, we can once and for all repeal this disastrous law. We've also fought to defund his agenda from executive amnesty to the IRS targeting conservatives to cutting the EPA's staff to the lowest level since 1980. And now to protect our Second Amendment rights.
The people of South Mississippi have spoken, loudly and clearly, on the issue of preserving our Second Amendment. It is my job to represent the people of South Mississippi, contrary to the belief of certain opinion pages. As your elected representative, I have delivered your voice, along with mine -- that this government is larger than one man, and we are a nation of laws.
Preserving our Constitutional rights isn't a game. It isn't theater or grandstanding.
It's the right thing to do.
Congress should censure the president now, and then move forward as a co-equal branch of government both under this president's remaining year in office and the future.
Contact Steven Palazzo, District 4 representative in the U.S. House, at Congressman.Palazzo@mail.house.gov