Congressman Floats Defunding Part of the Executive Branch

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:

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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