The Corner

Bye Bye, Henry Waxman

From the New York Times story on Henry Waxman, who is retiring:

He is also credited with laying the foundation for many of the executive actions that Mr. Obama, during his State of the Union address on Tuesday, pledged to pursue. One involves the Clean Air Act, which Mr. Waxman helped write and which gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authority it is now exercising to regulate power plant emissions of greenhouse gases. Mr. Waxman saw to it that the bill would allow the president, on his own, to order improvements in automobile fuel efficiency and other energy saving efforts.

In which case, good bloody riddance. Political differences are one thing, but a legislator who actively works to undermine the power of the legislative branch really does have no place in the system. Separation of powers works only if the branches jealously guard their liberties — refusing to subjugate their preferred outcomes to the integrity of the system that they swore to uphold. When they do not, it can’t function.

In recent years, members of Congress have routinely signed off on legislation that is chock full of provisions starting “the secretary shall . . . ” and the like, and they have happily refused to do anything much about the executive overreach that they are there to police. One fewer of these members in our national life is a blessing. Now for the rest . . .

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