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Sen. Tom Coburn finds plenty not to like about the year that was in Washington

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: January 6, 2014

WHO knows what pleasantries the politicians in Washington will visit upon the hoi polloi in 2014? One safe bet is that they'll have a tough time outdoing their dismal performance of the year just ended.

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, detailed some of the lowlights, in an op-ed published last week in The Wall Street Journal. Ever the plain-spoken critic, Coburn took to task not just President Barack Obama, who provided plenty of fodder, but Coburn's colleagues in Congress as well.

“In both the executive branch and Congress, Americans witnessed an unwinding of the country's founding principles and of their government's most basic responsibilities,” Coburn wrote. “The rule of law gave way to the rule of rulers.”

Obama was by far the worst offender, with his edicts changing the rules of his signature health care law whenever it suited him. Most notable was his one-year delay in enforcing the law's mandate that employers with more than 50 full-time employees provide health insurance or pay a fine.

Such “unilateral, extralegal” actions are “part of a pattern for this administration,” Coburn noted.

“Immigration and border security laws that might displease certain constituencies if enforced? Ignore the laws. Unhappy that a deep-water drilling moratorium was struck down in court? Reimpose it anyway. Internal Revenue Service agents using the power of the state to harass political enemies? Deny and then stonewall. Unhappy with the pace of Senate confirmations for nominees? Ignore the Constitution and appoint people anyway and claim that the Senate is not in session.”

Obama had company in Congress, in the person of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Having grown weary of the minority party gumming up his progressive plans, Reid forced a vote that limits the ability to use the filibuster to block some appointments. As a result, executive appointments and judicial nominations (other than for spots on the Supreme Court) can be confirmed by a simple majority.

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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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