Rep. King: Congress needs to “restrain this president from his extraconstitutional behaviors”

Adan Salazar
January 28, 2014

President Obama’s forecasted plan to use executive orders to increase the federal minimum wage for government contractors is a violation of the Constitution, Iowa Rep. Steve King said on CNN today.

“It provides incentive to step up and defend the Constitution,” Rep. King responded when asked if Obama’s move to implement a new living wage by executive fiat would motivate the Tea Party faction to fall in line.

At his State of the Union speech tonight, the president is expected to address several issues he plans to present to Congress before ratifying them through executive orders, including an increase to the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour.

“I think it’s a constitutional violation,” King said during a CNN interview preceding tonight’s speech. “We have a minimum wage. Congress has set it. For the president to simply declare ‘I’m going to change this law that Congress has passed,’ is unconstitutional. He’s outside the bounds of his Article II limitations.”

“Wherever you raise the minimum wage you necessarily cost jobs,” King argued, “because some employers will decide, ‘I can’t afford that any longer.’ …The minimum wage is the government interfering in between the relation between the employee and the employer.”

Throughout his tenure, the president has announced on numerous occasions that he can just as easily work around Congress to pass any legislation he wants, Constitution be damned.

Back in October 2011, for instance, Obama told students at the University of Colorado-Denver that he could help them repay their student loans, but only if he worked around Congress to do so. “We can’t wait for Congress to do its job. So where they won’t act, I will,” the president stated. “We’re going to look every single day to figure out what we can do without Congress.”

In April 2012, Obama also “declared.. that the administration needed to more aggressively use executive power to govern in the face of Congressional obstructionism,” Charlie Savage wrote for the New York Times.

And just mere weeks ago, Obama arrogantly announced to the nation that he had a pen and a phone, and he’s not afraid to use them.

“We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” Obama said during a cabinet meeting. “And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward.”

Iowa Rep. Steve King on CNN's “New Day.”
Iowa Rep. Steve King on CNN’s “New Day.”

Congressman King seemingly addressed the president’s “pen” remarks during his interview.

“This threat that the president is going to run the government with an ink pen and executive orders, we’ve never had a president with that level of audacity and that level of contempt for his own oath of office,” Rep. King said.

King also said the president knows what he is doing is unconstitutional.

“This is the president who is a former adjunct professor of teaching Constitutional law at the University of Chicago. He knows better, and he gave a speech at a high school here in Washington D.C. a couple of years ago that made it clear to them he knows better,” King said.

“He has limitations, he’s article I, he’s the Executive branch of government, his job is to keep his oath of office and take care that the laws be faithfully executed. It’s congress’s job to pass the laws. He knows that and we need to take our oath seriously and defend the Constitution here in congress.”

Despite his notable frustration, King was reluctant to jump on the impeachment bandwagon.

“You know, I’ve stayed away from that word,” King confessed to CNN’s Chris Cuomo, adding, “although it does come to me on the streets of America consistently. I think instead, this Congress should lay out the violations that the president has had. And there are many.”

Indeed. See 100 Reasons To Impeach Barack Obama.

“We need to lay that all out — I think we should bring a resolution to the floor and say so, and restrain this president from his extraconstitutional behaviors,” Mr. King said.

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