House Speaker Paul Ryan told 60 Minutes in an interview to air Sunday night that President-elect Donald Trump will restore the constitutional balance of power between Congress and the White House when he assumes office.
Republicans charge that President Obama has regularly usurped congressional authority to pursue his policy objectives, citing such executive action as the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan or the Department of Homeland Security’s DACA expansion. In both instances, the administration issued executive orders or agency guidance explicitly at variance with laws passed by Congress.
Ryan says that Trump shares his concerns on this issue.
“Oh, we’ve talked about that extensively,” Ryan said. “We’ve talked about the Constitution, Article 1 on the Constitution, the separation of powers. He feels very strongly, actually, that under President Obama’s watch, he stripped a lot of power away from the Constitution, away from the legislative branch of government, and we wanna reset the balance of power so that people and the Constitution are rightfully restored.”
Critics have charged that the president-elect will not wield executive power prudently. Trump himself has indicated that he regards some policy goals as more important than the constitutional issues they raise.
“The Constitution, there’s nothing like it,” he told 60 Minutes in July, in connection with his proposal to ban immigration from countries with hight instances of terror. “But it doesn’t necessarily give us the right to commit suicide, as a country, OK?” The comparison of the Constitution to a suicide pact has an extensive history in progressive jurisprudence. (RELATED: Trump: Immigration Ban Is More Important Than The Constitutional Challenges)
He also has expressed support for curtailing the First Amendment rights of journalists.
“Our press is allowed to say whatever they want and they can get away with it,” he told a CBS affiliate in Miami in October. “And I think we should go to a system where if they do something wrong…then yes, I think you should have the ability to sue them.”