House Passes Bill To Force President To Enforce Federal Drug Laws

| by Jared Keever

Wednesday, House Republicans passed a bill designed to curtail the Obama administration’s unilateral moves to circumvent laws. The “Enforce the Law Act” passed the House mostly along party lines by a 233-181 vote. 

According to the, the bill calls into question decisions by the Department of Justice not to challenge states’ marijuana legalization laws. 

Attorney General Eric Holder has said that he will not intervene in states that have legalized marijuana, provided those states maintain an “appropriately strict regulatory system.” Colorado and Washington state both legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2012 and 20 other states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana although federal law still considers the sale of marijuana to be a crime.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., was among four Republicans to introduce the bill that allows Congress to sue the president for failing to execute laws. 

“The Constitution gives Congress the responsibility to write the laws and the Executive to enforce them,” he said in a statement on Wednesday. “We don’t pass suggestions. We don’t pass ideas. We pass laws.”

A committee report submitted by Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., another supporter of the bill, specifically addressed the concerns over enforcing drug laws. The report claims that the directive by Holder to U.S. Attorneys amounts to “selective non-enforcement” of an Act of Congress.

“This infringes on Congress’s lawmaking authority by, in effect, amending the flat prohibitions of the [Controlled Substances Act] to permit the possession, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana so long as that conduct is in compliance with state law. This crosses the line between permissible discretionary decisions made by prosecutors on a case-by-case basis and an impermissible suspension of the law by executive fiat,” the report argues.

The bill, though, was passed not just because of concerns over drug laws. Rather it is a reaction by the Republican controlled House to President Obama’s broad use of executive powers recently.

The president has chosen to selectively enforce many laws concerning immigration, marriage, welfare rules, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) according to the Washington Free Beacon.  

The story cites Obama’s decision to move ahead with the “Dream Act” which created a deferred action program to allow young immigrants to stay in the U.S. It also calls attention to the administration’s decisions to delay certain parts of the controversial ACA as the roll-out of mandated healthcare hit snags in implementation. 

Now that it has passed the House the bill doesn’t have much of a future. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said it would be “dead on arrival” in the Senate. President Obama has said he would veto the bill should it make it to his desk.

Sources: Raw Story, Washington Free Beacon