[Congressional Record Volume 158, Number 93 (Tuesday, June 19, 2012)]
[Page H3737]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Poe) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, our Nation's income tax system is a 
giant mess. It's complicated; it's not fair; it's outdated--and not 
everyone follows the law.
  Hypothetically, suppose tomorrow, the President issued an edict from 
the White House directing the IRS not to enforce tax laws for certain 
special people, for example, people under the age of 30.
  Why? Maybe the President just doesn't like the law, so he issues that 
new order. Well, Mr. Speaker, last Friday, much to the surprise of all 
of us who believe in the Constitution and in the separation of power, 
something very similar did happen.
  In his latest Friday afternoon surprise, the President issued a 
decree unilaterally discarding the immigration law of the land--a law 
passed by Congress and signed by a previous President. The President 
disagrees with the law; and since he had to have his way, in spite of 
the Constitution, he improperly ordered his way to be the law of the 
land. The President's temporary amnesty plan applies to those who are 
under 30 years of age. They also can obtain a work permit.
  It would be nice if the President were as concerned about the 23 
million Americans who are looking for work in America as he is about 
the 12 million undocumented individuals the President claims are 
looking for work in America. News reports even show 50 percent of new 
American college graduates can't even find work.
  Mr. Speaker, here is the chart we all probably saw in ninth grade 
civics classes: a bill is filed in the House. If the House of 
Representatives debates it and passes the bill, it goes down the 
hallway to the Senate, and they discuss it and vote on the bill. If 
they pass the bill, it becomes the law if the President signs it.
  We call that ``the law of the land.''
  But the President, it seems, has ignored most of this and has just 
issued new orders from the White House to not pay any attention to the 
Senate or to the House of Representatives.
  Mr. Speaker, like most of us learned in ninth grade civics classes, 
it is Congress' job to write laws and the President's job to execute 
the laws. That means: enforce the law. It doesn't mean he is supposed 
to ignore laws and then issue his own policies like kings used to do 
with their policies. He is to follow the law whether he likes it or 
not. Once upon a time, the President even claimed to believe in the 
  Here is what he said last year:

       With respect to the notion that I can just suspend 
     deportations through executive order, that's just not the 
     case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has 

  But that was a year ago. That was then and this is now. If the 
President doesn't like a law, he believes he can ignore it and come up 
with his own set of rules.
  Our Founders envisioned a country in which freedom was protected from 
government and was limited from the policies of kings. You see, old 
King George III of England constantly decreed new laws without the 
consent of the people. That was one of the reasons we rebelled against 
the merry ole King of England and his monarchy and his policies. Our 
ancestors structured the American Government in the Constitution. The 
last time I checked, it was Congress that makes laws and the job of the 
executive branch to enforce laws, not to ignore the ones it doesn't 
  The immigration system needs fixing. Congress should do its job and 
fix the problem. In the meantime, the President should do his job, not 
ours, and he should enforce the law. Otherwise, we have lawlessness in 
  The President says he can use prosecutorial discretion not to enforce 
immigration law. Mr. Speaker, the President is wrong again. I dealt 
with prosecutorial discretion as a former prosecutor and a judge. 
Prosecutorial discretion is when a prosecutor does not prosecute a 
specific case because the accused is innocent or there is insufficient 
evidence or witnesses have disappeared or the government has violated 
the rights of the accused, et cetera. Prosecutorial discretion cannot 
be used to ignore a specific law because the government just doesn't 
like the law.
  It is true, through no fault of their own, that young undocumented 
individuals are here as a result of decades of a failed broken 
immigration system, but the President has no interest in fixing what is 
broken. He is more concerned with picking up a few votes to further his 
reelection. The law gets in the way, so his policies look like they 
come from an emperor instead of a President.
  So what new orders will be issued next week from the President and 
the White House? Is he going to ignore the Tax Code for some in the 
name of prosecutorial discretion? I guess it depends on what political 
forces push the President to new orders and decrees.
  We shall see.
  Stay tuned for another day in the life of the Republic. It's time for 
the former constitutional professor to follow the Constitution, not to 
make up his own rules during his on-the-job training.
  And that's just the way it is.