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DesJarlais on Presiding Over the House to ‘Maintain the Balance of Power’

A Scott DesJarlais column distributed to media on his recent presiding over the U.S. House:
President Obama has shown time and time again that he has no problem circumventing congress and abusing his executive authority when it comes to getting something that he wants.
From the president’s executive order granting work permits to illegal immigrants, to his refusal to ask for Congressional consent before involving U.S. military forces in Libya, to his use of executive privilege in preventing the release of documents relating to the Fast and Furious investigation, it seems that this president believes that at times there is really only one branch of government.
In January of this year, the president bypassed the Senate in making three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and one to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. By law, each of these appointees required Senate confirmation before they could assume office. Because of the president’s actions, several Republican Senators have joined a lawsuit arguing that President Obama has violated the Constitution.
In order to preserve the rights of the Congress and specifically the advice and consent role of the Senate under Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, I have been tapped by House Leadership to return to Washington this week to hold the United States House of Representatives open in a pro forma session of Congress, while the Senate and House are back home. Pro Forma sessions keep the Congress from going into recess and thereby prevent the president from appointing individuals to important posts in the government without first seeking congressional consent.
It is regrettable that these sorts of measures need to be taken, but House Republicans have made a firm commitment to ensuring that this administration is held accountable and that each branch of the federal government abides by the limited powers it is given by the Constitution.
While in Washington, I also look forward to meeting with Congressional staff on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the security situation in Benghazi. We are currently in the process of preparing for a hearing in response to recent information provided to the committee regarding security problems that existed in Libya prior to the terrorist attacks that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
One of the key reasons my freshman Republican colleagues and I were elected in November was because the American people were tired of an unaccountable Federal Government that had no regard for the fundamental principles this nation was built on. I will be in Washington to remind the president that we will continue to combat his efforts to trample upon the separation of powers simply because he chooses not to work with Congress.

DesJarlais Presides Over House, Stirs Democrats’ Ire

Democrat Eric Stewart charged Friday that U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., is showing “complete disregard” to citizens in the 4th Congressional District by refusing to debate him while presiding over a mostly empty U.S. House in Washington, D.C.
In a news release, Stewart describes the congressman’s tenure at the podium as a “power-trip of having a gavel for one day and slamming it down and preventing his colleagues from talking.”
Further from Andy Sher:
He said DesJarlais, who is from Jasper, Tenn., went to Washington “because he doesn’t want to listen to the concerns from people in his district that are not happy about his votes to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70 and his votes against giving our military a pay raise.”
DesJarlais was on a flight out of Washington late Friday afternoon and unavailable for comment.
But in a column this week, DesJarlais said the House session keeps President Barack Obama from making recess appointments without congressional consent.
He created a stir Friday during the session when he silenced two Democratic House members who wanted to complain about a “do-nothing Congress” and inaction on a major farm bill, The National Journal reported.
Presiding over the session, DesJarlais slammed his gavel, a sign to shut off the C-SPAN signal. That prompted protests from Democrats and shouts about the nation’s “fiscal cliff” and the farm bill, the publication reported.
According to The National Journal, DesJarlais walked off, leaving Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Ruben Hinojosa, D-Texas, shouting about the fiscal cliff and the farm bill.
“We’re about to go over a cliff. We need to stay in session,” Cummings said from the floor. “Mr. Speaker, please don’t leave. Don’t leave, Mr. Speaker.”
In response to DesJarlais’ actions, Stewart said, “today we learned that it’s not just voters in the district, he won’t even listen to his colleagues in Congress that wanted to speak about the issues facing our farmers.”
…The House is out until after the Nov. 6 election, but members can hold a session at which no formal business is conducted.
DesJarlais said in a statement that, if the two Democrats “were really serious about working on these issues,” they should contact Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “and ask them to return to Washington to consider the 30 House-passed jobs bills languishing in the Senate rather than engage in political theater.”


Note: An Eric Stewart press release that touches on the matter is below.

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