Fox's Bolling Is Wildly Wrong About Obama Asking Congress For Authority To Consolidate Agencies

Fox News' Eric Bolling falsely asserted that President Obama is “usurping Congress for more executive privilege” in seeking the authority to consolidate federal agencies. In fact, Obama is requesting this authority from Congress, and presidents from Franklin Roosevelt through Ronald Reagan had the same authority -- to fast-track congressional votes on executive-branch consolidation proposals from the president.

Bolling: Obama Is “Usurping Congress”

Bolling: “Power-Grabber In Chief” Wants “More Executive Power, Scary Power.” From Fox News' The Five:

BOLLING: Be scared, be very scared. It's Friday the 13th, and the power-grabber in chief took this day to ask for more executive power, scary power. Listen.


BOLLING: Bob, I'm not sure what's more outrageous, Obama usurping Congress for more executive privilege or Obama attacking Romney out of the left side of his mouth and copying him out of the right side of his mouth. [Fox News, The Five, 1/13/12]

Reality: Asking Congress For More Authority Is The Opposite Of “Usurping” Congress

Politico: Authority Obama Is Seeking -- Which Congress Must Grant Him -- Would Require Subsequent Congressional Approval Of Any Consolidation Proposals. From Politico:

The president would request fast-track consolidation authority that would allow him to propose agency mergers that would then be subject to an up-or-down vote from Congress within 90 days. Under the terms of the president's proposal, lawmakers would still need to grant the president the fast-track authority and approve each of his proposals. [Politico, 1/13/12]

Wash. Post: Presidents From FDR To Reagan Previously Held The Same Power. From The Washington Post:

Under the plan, Obama is seeking broad consolidation authority, which had been granted to the White House by Congress during the Great Depression but was taken away from President Ronald Reagan in after a sunset provision in the law kicked in, in 1984. [The Washington Post, 1/13/12]

Bolling: “He's Breaking The Law Of The Land”

Bolling: Obama Said He Would “Do It No Matter What.” From The Five:

BOLLING: Kimberly, let me just read this real quick. This is a little further on in the speech today -- that piece that we cut was from the speech. He said, “With or without Congress, I'm going to keep at it, but it would be a lot easier if Congress helped.” Meaning, he's going to do it no matter what. Is it -- I mean, he's breaking the law of the land. [Fox News, The Five, 1/13/12]

Reality: Obama Said He Planned To Take Action “With My Current Authority”

Obama: “I'm Going To Keep Doing Everything I Can With My Current Authority To Help.” From Obama's January 13 speech announcing his request:

This should not be a partisan issue. Congress needs to reinstate this authority that has in the past been given to Democratic and Republican presidents for decades. In the meantime, as long as folks are looking for work and small businesses are looking for customers, I'm going to keep doing everything I can with my current authority to help.

So, to take one example, as of today, I am elevating the Small Business Administration to a Cabinet-level agency. (Applause.) Karen Mills, who's here today and who's been doing an outstanding job leading that agency, is going to make sure that small business owners have their own seat at the table in our Cabinet meetings.

In the coming weeks, we're also going to unveil a new website -- Business USA. And this site will be a one-stop shop for small businesses and exporters, and it will consolidate information that right now is spread across all these various sites so that it's all in one place and it's easy to search.

So with or without Congress, I'm going to keep at it. But it would be a lot easier if Congress helped. (Laughter.) This is an area that should receive bipartisan support, because making our government more responsive and strategic and leaner, it shouldn't be a partisan issue. [, 1/13/12 (emphasis added)]