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The Gridlock Clause

by Josh Blackman

You will note its absence from the Constitution

Since 2010, when the Democrats lost their majority in the House and their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, President Obama’s ability to pursue legislative changes has ground to a halt. Headline after headline blares that the “do-nothing Congress” has enacted the fewest laws in decades. But that gridlock hasn’t halted the president’s plans to implement his policies. In fact, he claims it has strengthened his power to act alone — if Congress won’t act, he can, and will.

President Obama routinely cites Congress’s obstinacy to his agenda as a justification for engaging in a series of executive actions that suspend, waive, and even rewrite statutes. His frustration is understandable, but his response is not justifiable. Brazenly maneuvering around the lawmaking function of Congress is an affront to the constitutional order.

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