Congressman Ron DeSantis

Representing the 6th District of Florida
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Rep. DeSantis Statement on Delay of ObamaCare Employer Mandate

Jul 9, 2013
Blog Post

The Constitution sets out a simple yet effective structure: the major powers – legislative, executive and judicial – are divided into three separate branches of government. The legislative branch (Congress) passes laws, the executive branch (the President) enforces laws, and the judicial branch (the Supreme Court and inferior courts) interprets laws. 

Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution places upon the President a duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” In a letter to Alexander Hamilton, President George Washington described this duty by observing that “[i]t is my duty to see the Laws executed: to permit them to be trampled upon with impunity would be repugnant to” the rule of law. As Judge Michael McConnell notes in today’s Wall Street Journal, this constitutional duty has roots as far back as Glorious Revolution of 1688; indeed, the English Bill of Rights of 1689 provided that “the pretended power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, by regal authority, without consent of parliament, is illegal.”

The recent decision by the President to delay the so-called employer mandate portion of the 2010 health care law (aka ObamaCare) represents a rejection of this constitutional duty and runs counter to long-established norms regarding the rule of law and constitutional government. Section 1513(d) of the health care law is clear: “The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.” There is no statutory provision making the execution of this law discretionary. 

The employer mandate -- like the individual mandate, medical device tax, and hosts of other provisions of ObamaCare – is bad policy. It, along with the rest of the law, should be defunded and repealed. I have said all along that the employer mandate is bad for businesses, costs jobs, and hurts economic growth. That said, it is the law of the land – passed, you may remember, in a nakedly partisan power play and not read, much less understood, by the men and women who so brazenly rammed it through Congress against protestations from the American public. 

From ObamaCare implementation to immigration enforcement and even overseas military voting, the President has evinced a pattern of behavior in which he asserts the authority to pick and choose which laws to enforce. This is an administration conspicuous for its dedication to lawlessness.

With this in mind, how can anyone view the Senate immigration bill as a viable vehicle for re-establishing the rule of law, securing the borders, and implementing a long-needed entry-exit system? Put aside the (important) fact that the bill is littered with waivers and exceptions such that it delegates discretion (which she will surely use) to Homeland Security and Janet Napolitano about whether to enforce many of its key provisions. Even if one devised a perfect bill for border security and interior enforcement, what would keep the administration from simply refusing to enforce the law? Indeed, is there any reason to believe that such a law would, in fact, be enforced?