Published Date: 
Tue, 2014-01-28

American Conservative Union (ACU) chairman Al Cardenas wrote to President Barack Obama ahead of his State of the Union speech to point out that Obama cannot accomplish bipartisanship if he plans to overuse executive authority.

Cardenas’s letter to Obama was sent Monday, ahead of Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday. According to senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer, Obama will use the State of the Union speech to discuss how he “is not going to tell the American people that he's going to wait for Congress.”

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A full copy of the letter follows. 


Dear Mr. President: 

At your first news conference after the 2008 election, you said "I know we will succeed if we put aside partisanship and politics and work together as one nation."  Unfortunately, for the past five years we have seen an administration driven by politics and ideology.  As conservatives, we hope you will use your 2014 State of the Union address to change that tone and find some ground that will benefit the American people over the next three years.  Bipartisanship cannot be defined as conservatives abandoning their positions and supporting liberal programs but rather to find creative solutions to problems on which we can agree.  Bipartisanship cannot be accomplished by using executive authority to change laws without Congressional review or approval as you have in healthcare, immigration, and our Second Amendment Rights. Instead of threats to use your pen and your phone to override the Congress, we urge you to commit to truly working with Congress to get some things done.

Here are two suggestions:  first, let us agree that continuing to extend unemployment insurance for years on end is not the solution to our continuing high unemployment rate.   At best, it is a temporary bridge to allow people to find a new job.  Instead we ask you to urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to take up the dozens of bills passed by the House to foster job growth.  Then, let's see if we can find jobs for the unemployed by helping them to move where the jobs are. 

Next, now that you have signed a bill that sets the spending levels for the 2015 fiscal year, let's agree that the American people are ill-served by 1,600 page spending bills that are passed without debate or amendment. Instead, let conservatives and liberals alike insist that Congress get back to regular order and pass 12 appropriation bills that are fully debated and fully open to amendment from both sides of the aisle.  

It is our hope that this will then open a real dialogue on increasing economic growth, the true road to prosperity, and to reform entitlement programs that must happen if we are to tackle our national debt, that is $17 trillion and growing. 


Al Cardenas
Chairman, American Conservative Union