You know, for griping all the time about President Barack Obama’s supposed overreach, two votes this week show that Rep. Kristi Noem is remarkably willing to surrender her proper legislative role in checking executive power.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA28) proposed an amendment to the 2016 military appropriations bill that would have defunded our ten-month-olf military operations against ISIS until Congress actually declared war (or reauthorized the use of military force—all the same to the guys you’re shooting at, right?) on the Islamic State. On Thursday, Rep. Noem voted with 207 other Republicans and 23 Democrats to let President Obama continue to wage undeclared war without a Congressional declaration.
At the same time, Rep. Noem was flacking really hard to let the President renew the Trade Promotion Authority, the “fast-track” power he had for some agreements and wants for his negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. She voted with a slim majority (191 Republicans, 28 Democrats) to give the President fast track. But she got confused and participated in a vote engineered by labor and ultimately backed by Nancy Pelosi to defeat another trade measure and delay Trade Promotion Authority from reaching the President’s desk.
At least Kristi didn’t screw up her vote on country-of-origin labeling. She properly voted against a measure that repeals country-of-origin labeling requirements on beef, pork, and poultry. Alas, 300 other Representatives gave in to the dire threats of Canada, Mexico, and the meat lobby and passed the repeal, which President Obama will likely sign.
But a failed vote to protect country-of-origin labeling is small potatoes compared to Noem’s votes on war and trade to allow the President to exercise vast authority that truer conservatives would argue more rightly rests with Congress.