FOR NATIONAL PRESS CLUB WIRE – NOV. 20, 2014
CLYBURN SAYS LINCOLN, TRUMAN OFFER PRECEDENT FOR OBAMA IMMIGRATION EXECUTIVE ORDER; ASSERTS REPUBLICAN LAWSUIT ON HEALTH, IMMIGRATION “ALL ABOUT DRIVING A NARRATIVE“
House Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn (D-SC), at a Newsmaker Thursday, stated that Presidents Lincoln and Truman offered a precedent against arguments that President Obama is acting “lawlessly” and “unconstitutionally” on immigration. Clyburn said that when Lincoln drew up the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery before the 13th Amendment was passed, and when Truman ordered and end to segregation in the armed services, these actions were also “beyond the law” at the time but were within the meaning and parameters of the Constitution.
He stated he was “pleased that the president is moving on this. He will take his place alongside Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman...in using the executive order to do big things.”
Clyburn spoke on a variety of prominent topics, including immigration, healthcare, and the next steps the Democrats face after the Republican wave election. At a National Press Club Newsmakers event on Thursday morning, Clyburn encouraged his Democratic colleagues to “stop apologizing for being for the underdog.”
The Assistant Minority Leader stated that he hoped a government shutdown would not take place. However, he was more concerned about the potential for Republicans to seek impeachment, claiming that “an element within the Republican Party would love to see this president go down in history with an asterisk next to his name. That’s what this is all about.”
Clyburn downplayed the lawsuit currently being led by the House Republicans, asking “What president hasn’t been sued? All of the high-level discussions of the lawsuit [are] all about driving a narrative.”
The results of the midterm elections, according to Clyburn, are the result of “my party spending too much time apologizing for being Democrats. We seem to feel that there is something wrong for being known as the party for the little guy, the party that addresses middle income issues.”
Democrats should have stated they are “proud” of their accomplishments, Clyburn asserted. “I am proud that my party did Social Security. I am proud of the fact that my party gave us Medicare and Medicaid.”
He asked rhetorically, “Where would I be today were it not for the 1964 Civil Rights Act or the 1965 Voting Rights Act? Where would I be living today were it not for the 1968 Fair Housing law? Would I have ever gone to work in state government in South Carolina if we had not outlawed discrimination in 1972 in the public sector? He stated that, “Democrats should stop apologizing for being for the underdog, being for the little guy and being for the middle income Americans.”
He said the 2014 election was like a “pendulum on the clock. This country does not move linearly…the country always goes back and forth. The Supreme Court goes back and forth: Dred Scott (kept slavery legal) to Plessy (allowed separate but equal) to Brown (ended school segregation). The Congress goes back and forth because the country goes back and forth.” He claims that “when it moves from right to left through the center” and vice versa, “the country spends twice as much time in the center.”
“The country moved right this year. I believe that if the voters intervene as I hope they will, then we will go back to the left in two years,” he said.
When asked about the likelihood of the Affordable Care Act remaining intact, Clyburn stated that it “needs to be tweaked.” Yet he also stated that, “I called the health care law the Civil Rights Act of the 21st century when I was on the floor” the day the law passed, because it “outlawed discrimination against people who get sick.”
When asked to comment about the pending impact of the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Clyburn said the unrest and the actions against African Americans in the first place “would never happen” except for a “disproportionate police force with only two African Americans in a 60-70% African American community.”