First Posted: 7/11/2013
U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, a critic of President Barack Obama, said in a radio interview Thursday he is exploring options available to Congress that would allow members to file civil or criminal actions against members of the Obama administration.
The former U.S. attorney chided Obama’s “unilateral” decision regarding the Congress-approved Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, that included delaying one mandate that was set to begin without first seeking congressional approval.
The week before last, the Obama administration announced a delay until 2015 a requirement that businesses with 50 or more workers provide health insurance for their employees. Some in Congress, including Marino, believe that decision was illegal as it would be up to Congress to amend a congressional-crafted bill. But there doesn’t seem to be anyone outside of Congress willing to enforce these laws, he said.
Marino said the job of enforcing the laws of the land should fall to the attorney general, but he accused Attorney General Eric Holder of not doing his job.
“If the chief law enforcer of the country … will not enforce the law, and the president decides to break the law because he doesn’t like it, there has to be another mechanism by which we in Congress can kick into gear, pursue this, see if there are criminal charges we can file,” Marino said during an appearance on the David Madeira Show on “94.3 The Talker” in Scranton.
Marino, R-Lycoming Township, said there are a few former prosecutors in Congress, like himself, who should be able to discuss the law and come up with a way Congress can perform its duty as part of the checks and balances on government.
He said he’s looking to gather those attorneys together and have them “meet with me in a brainstorming discussion to go over what I think the law allows Congress to do.” He said the next step would be to “approach leadership and say we need to appoint a special committee like there was in Watergate that has authority to subpoena people, that has authority to investigate; and, I’m looking for a part of a statute that says we have the authority to indict.”
Not mincing words, Marino said this goes beyond his personal feelings about the president.
“We’re beyond the point of showing that he’s incompetent. He’s no leader. He really doesn’t care about where this country’s going unless it’s his plan, so we have to step up,” Marino said.
Sarah Wolf, Marino’s spokeswoman, said her boss is essentially looking to “investigate, identify and prosecute people within the administration, up to an including the president if it comes to that.”
Marino, who spoke for close to a half hour on a range of issues, including the Supreme Court, spent most of his time talking about the president and the way Congress needs to step in and do something to limit the powers Obama has granted himself.
Marino represents the state’s 10th Congressional District that encompasses a large swath of the Northern Tier and portions of Central Pennsylvania. When he was first elected in 2010 the district served portions of Luzerne and all of Wyoming counties.