Rep. Steve King: 'We Must Defend This Constitution'

By Susan Jones | November 20, 2014 | 5:31am EST

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) (AP File Photo)

( - "President Obama "doesn't have the constitutional authority to tell Congress what to do," Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told CNN's Jake Tapper on Wednesday.

"Let's do the minimum, but we must defend this Constitution and we must defend the separation of powers. That is what this comes down to, our constitutional oaths when the president potentially violates his."

He mentioned three specific things Congress can do to "put the president back...insde those constitutional guardrails."

King said Republicans will first review the documents the president intends to sign on Friday in Las Vegas. "I'm confident that it's going to be unconstitutional, and the reason I say that is because the president would have acted by now if he'd had an executive way to do what he wants to do."

King said once the executive action on immigration is found to be unconstitutional, Congress could issue a "resolution of disapproval that would stipulate the constitutional violations and the limitations of the powers of the president."

"So, I would start with that," King said. "I want to do the minimum to put the president back ... inside those constitutional guardrails."

King said the second thing Congress could do is censure the president. "That hasn't happened in a long time. But this may warrant it," he said.

"The third thing would be to shut off the funding," King said. "And, by the way, we have to fund everything else -- everything else -- and we generally have agreements to fund everything else...So, it would be the president that potentially would shut the government down, saying to America, I insist on my right to violate the Constitution and to take Article One authority away from the United States Congress."

Tapper noted that King didn't mention impeachment.

"Well, I don't think I actually said the word, because I've been pretty studious about avoiding that, and nobody wants to go down that route," King replied. "We have constitutional authority to do a string of things. That would be the very last option, but I would not rule it out, Jake."

King said President Obama, by refusing to wait until the next Republican-led Congress is seated, is deliberately trying to "create a controversy."

He said the American people will side with Republicans on the issue: "They want to have border securitiy. They want the president to help his own oath to the Constitution. They want to protect the rule of law, and I would remind the president that there are 535 of us that serve in this building that also take an old to uphold the Constitution. We've got an obligation to do so regardless of the consequences."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday said Obama "is acting within his legal authority to use his executive power to improve the immigration system."

In a video announcement from the White House on Wednesday, President Obama said he would address the nation at 8 p.m. Thursday night to announce "some steps that I can take to fix our broken immigration system."

Obama said Washington has allowed the problem to "fester for too long."

"And so what I'm going to be laying out is the things that I can do, with my lawful authority as president, to make the system work better -- even as I continue to work with Congress and encourage them to get a bipartisan, comprehensive bill that can solve the entire problem."

Obama will sign the executive order giving temporary amnesty to millions more illegal aliens on Friday, at a high school in Las Vegas.

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