Barletta not for impeachment
U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta said Tuesday he doesn't favor impeaching President Barack Obama and isn't proposing or advocating the idea, even though he thinks the president has violated the Constitution repeatedly.
Barletta, R-11, Hazleton, said he was actually trying to defuse statements by people who suggest that the Republican-led House should do something about the president violating the Constitution while he spoke to a conservative talk-radio host in York Monday.
"He's just absolutely ignoring the Constitution, and ignoring the laws, and ignoring the checks and balances," Barletta said on "The Gary Sutton Show." "The problem is, you know, what do you do? For those that say, 'Impeach him for breaking the laws or bypassing the laws,' you know, could that pass in the House? It probably, it probably could. Is the majority of the American people in favor of impeaching the president? I'm not sure about that."
Barletta said he wouldn't vote for impeachment unless a majority of Americans supported the idea. He doesn't think they do, but also wouldn't vote for impeachment because the majority-Democratic Senate wouldn't convict the president.
"I was actually dismissing the idea for those who (say) ... 'Why don't we do something, why don't impeach the president?' And I ran through the litany of the process, could it pass the House?" Barletta said. "Maybe, probably. Would it be accepted by the American people? Probably not. I wasn't proposing it and I'm not advocating it. Nowhere in our (House Republican) caucus have I even heard anyone talk about it."
But Barletta said he believes the president violated the Constitution by repeatedly extending deadlines for individuals and businesses to comply with the Affordable Care Act, known commonly as Obamacare.
"Once it was passed by Congress, it was a law and only Congress can change the law," he said.
He also criticized the president for failing to give Congress 30-days notice of the exchange of Taliban-held prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban members held as enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay and issuing a directive to block enforcement of immigration laws when an illegal immigrant is under 16 years old. Democrats and Republicans have questioned the prisoner exchange notice failure, but Republicans have led the drive on the immigration issue.
"He doesn't have the constitutional authority to do that (waive the law on illegal immigration for children under 16)," Barletta said.
The Democratic National Committee chimed in with an emailed statement, suggesting people who learned Barletta said Obama could face impeachment would react incredulously.
"Yep, you read that right, impeachment," DNC spokesman Ian Sams said in the email.