Democrats decried the base-pleasing measure as a political stunt.
The legislation is a response to what Republicans say has been an "imperial presidency" under Obama -- a term that one conservative lawmaker noted also fit the Nixon administration during the Watergate scandal. Obama's new push to work around
"This administration's blatant disregard for the rule of law has not been limited to just a few instances," said House Majority Leader
"Congress doesn't pass suggestions. We don't pass ideas. We pass laws," Rep.
The second bill, the Faithful Execution of the Law Act, would require the
Several Democrats took to the floor to make the same case.
"It's not enough for the Republican majority to be setting record for how little they are doing," said Rep.
Gutierrez pointed to a letter -- signed by both Democrats and Republicans -- to the Justice Department and Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1999 urging then-President Clinton to use the same discretionary power, calling it "well-grounded."
"He came to the Congress and he told us if you don't do what I tell you to do, I'm going to pick up the pen and the phone," he said Wednesday at a monthly gathering of conservative lawmakers. "He's already taunting us that he doesn't need us. And then he's telling us that he will go ahead and comply with the law if we pass immigration reform?"
"When he wants to start obeying the Constitution and following the Constitution, many of us are willing to do something," he added.
The measures are almost certain to be defeated by the Democratic-controlled Senate, and the
"When you talk about imperial anything, look in the mirror," McGovern said, criticizing ways in which Democrats have been unable to secure votes on proposals such as immigration reform or an increase in the minimum wage. "This House is being run in the most imperial way, where anyone who has a different view is shut out from the debate."
In hearings leading up to consideration of the bills, lawmakers heard testimony about executive overreach that included a discussion of impeachment as a remedy -- one that Republicans insisted was not their goal. In fact, they said the legislation would preempt the need for such a serious move.
Cantor, in his remarks on the House floor, insisted the legislation was not directed solely at Obama, warning a future Republican president might refuse to collect a tax increase passed by a Democratic Congress.
"Any future president must work with Congress to seek changes in laws that need to be reformed," he said.