Congressman Floats Defunding Part of the Executive Branch

.photo.right{display:none;} Republican Louie Gohmert suggested Thursday that it may be necessary to defund part of the branch “until such time as they become truthful.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas presses Attorney General Eric Holder for answers, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
National Journal
Matt Berman
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Matt Berman
Sept. 12, 2013, 11:12 a.m.

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No one in Con­gress gives a floor speech like Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas. He’s the Must-Watch con­gress­man, as an early sum­mer speech on the farm bill made clear. On Thursday, Gohmert took to the House floor and gave an­oth­er whirl­wind per­form­ance, cov­er­ing all of the House GOP’s fa­vor­ite whip­ping points.

And, yes, he sug­ges­ted that if the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion keeps giv­ing out “blinded opaque­ness” in­stead of trans­par­ency on the spring’s IRS scan­dal, then Con­gress may have to de­fund part of the ex­ec­ut­ive branch.

“Couple of is­sues that cer­tainly are worth elab­or­at­ing on today,” Gohmert in­of­fens­ively began. He kicked off his speech with the read­ing of a Wall Street Journ­al ed­it­or­i­al on the IRS. “It cer­tainly ap­pears that the IRS was weapon­ized for the polit­ic­al pur­pose of one party which would, of course, be one of the worst night­mares for the Founders of this coun­try,” Gohmert went on. Al­though, it should go without say­ing, that while Gohmert did ac­know­ledge that the Founders wer­en’t so keen on the idea of polit­ic­al parties to be­gin with, they cer­tainly didn’t have any con­cep­tion of an In­tern­al Rev­en­ue Ser­vice.

Then Gohmert brought down his omin­ous ham­mer:

When one party in power in the ex­ec­ut­ive branch can weapon­ize its fed­er­al agen­cies against its polit­ic­al op­pon­ents, un­less it is stopped, this little ex­per­i­ment in demo­cracy will come to an end.

So what is there that Con­gress can do to help dis­arm fed­er­al agen­cies?

If the ad­min­is­tra­tion is not go­ing to be forth­com­ing with in­form­a­tion about the IRS, then it may be ne­ces­sary to de­fund part of the ex­ec­ut­ive branch un­til such time as they be­come truth­ful.

Gohmert par­tic­u­larly seemed to single out the De­part­ment of Justice for budget­ary ven­gence, say­ing it hasn’t been forth­com­ing dat­ing back to at least the Fast and Furi­ous gun-run­ning scan­dal.

After this, Gohmert turned to his art. The ex­cite­ment on the floor was palp­able. “He’s grabbing posters!” someone dis­tinctly whispered. And then they ar­rived:

(C-SPAN)

It’s not really a typ­ic­al con­gres­sion­al art spread, which can be found on the al­ways im­press­ive and up-to-date Tumblr col­lec­tion of C-SPAN’s Bill Gray. But the massive posters of the four men killed in the 2012 Benghazi at­tack made their point. “They de­serve the truth [about Benghazi] to come out,” Gohmert said.

But what else could hap­pen if the full “truth” comes out? Gohmert went on to cite a re­cent Breit­bart post which tossed out the idea that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion may have vi­ol­ated an in­ter­na­tion­al law passed in 2011 against ship­ping weapons in or out of Libya. Said Gohmert:

If in­di­vidu­als with­in this ad­min­is­tra­tion then vi­ol­ated the in­ter­na­tion­al law that they pushed to cre­ate, then they prob­ably need to be care­ful when they’re trav­el­ing in years after they leave the White House or the ad­min­is­tra­tion ef­forts, be­cause, who knows, might get an in­dict­ment some­where in one of these in­ter­na­tion­al tribunals say­ing, “You’ve vi­ol­ated the U.N. law you passed!” You got guns in­to or out of Libya. You vi­ol­ated the law.” People in this coun­try need to un­der­stand that par­ti­cip­at­ing in the mak­ing of laws, and the par­ti­cip­at­ing in the vi­ol­a­tion of laws have con­sequences.

In Gohmert’s world, the out­comes for the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion could be ser­i­ously bleak: Either get de­fun­ded, or find your­self in an in­ter­na­tion­al crim­in­al court. Luck­ily for them, both of these out­comes right now seem very, very un­likely.

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