OTR Interviews

Why Senator Obama would have voted for a bill to curb President Obama's power grabs

S.C. congressman details plan to prevent presidential overreach and abuse of executive power


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 12, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Today on Capitol Hill, angry lawmakers are insisting it is not President Obama's job to change the laws that Congress passes. Just a short time ago, the House passing 233 to 181 Representative Trey Gowdy's Enforce the Law act. It would allow the House or Senate to sue President Obama or any president or other executive branch members for failing to enforce the law.

So, what led Republican lawmakers to take this action? Representative Gowdy joins us.

Before we get to that question, in looking through the things that you said on the floor, I suspect that Senator Obama, not President Obama, Senator Obama would have voted for this from what he said.

REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.: He would have. I think The most illustrative quote is when he blamed the Supreme Court for this balance of power getting out of whack. He specifically blamed the Chief Justice.

VAN SUSTEREN: As senator.

GOWDY: As Senator Obama. You hate to word "duplicity" but when you change position based solely on what your title is, it either leads me to believe it wasn't a deeply held conviction in the first place or maybe you are engaging in little bit of duplicity.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So, what sort of the beginning of this is that healthcare was passed by Congress, went to the president for his signature, and it's your position that he is basically legislating when he gives waivers or gives delays, and certain portions or doesn't enforce that he is writing the law and doesn't have the authority, and you can't challenge him now unless your law gets passed?

GOWDY: Well, there are penalties. The purse, can you withhold money, but then you are hurting innocent people when you are playing an appropriation games. Impeachment is a penalty. If you are looking for a remedy, not a penalty, you need to enforce the law that we passed. the Affordable Care Act is a great example. Mandatory minimums is the example I used the most. I mean, you may not like mandatory minimums. I personally don't like them in drug cases. But it's the law. And holder announced wholesale. We no longer going to notify the judges what the drug amounts are.

VAN SUSTEREN: So, when a president doesn't enforce the law as written by Congress but sort of enforces some of it or not all of it, how do you want to challenge it? What does your law do?

GOWDY: Well, we want standing, which is a big hurdle to overcome.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which means ability?

GOWDY: The ability to even go to court to seek redress. And we want the judicial branch to order the executive branch to execute the law. There is a great example of that happening in a case called in re: Aiken. I won't go to the legal part of it, but the nuclear regulatory commission refuses to act Yucca mountain. So, a county in South Carolina went to court, and said will you please market executive branch do what congress required them to do. The DC court of appeals issued mandamus ordering them to follow the law.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. If your law passes, either the House or the Senate could seek to have the president enforce the law as written. Your law has to go over to the Senate.

GOWDY: Yes, ma'am.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's dead on arrival there?

GOWDY: Well, I didn't think five Democrats would vote for it today. I think with the current constitution of the Senate, it probably is on life support. But the great thing about our framers is we have a chance to change out 33 or 34 of the senators every two years. And my guess is this would be a 70 or 80 percent polling issue. Do you think the executive branch should have to faithfully execute the law?

VAN SUSTEREN: And chances are, if they are a Republican president, there would be a lot more Democrats who would like this idea.

GOWDY: They went nuts on President Bush.

VAN SUSTEREN: I know. That's Washington. Anyway, congressman, always nice to see you.

GOWDY: Yes, ma'am.