The Senate subcommittee chairman in charge of Justice Department funding said he is looking forward to hearing Attorney General Loretta Lynch explain what she “can’t explain” about President Obama’s gun control plans.
“I want her to explain under what part of the Constitution, the Second Amendment, that the president has a right to do anything tinkering with guns,” said Sen. Richard Shelby during an appearance Monday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.” “We’d like to hear from her and let her explain what I believe she can’t explain.”
Shelby has summoned Lynch to testify Jan. 28 before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science about the executive action on guns that Obama announced last week. Those plans called for “clarifying” the law to require background checks by people who occasionally sell guns but don’t make a living from it.
Shelby said it is important the president understand that “the Second Amendment is not a suggestion.” He suggested that vigilance is necessary to prevent Obama from going even further on gun restrictions.
“If you get the old camel’s head under the tent, that’s what the liberals want to do,” he said. “We’re not going to be playing catch-up. That’s been part of conservatives’ problem. We’ve been playing catch-up on the Second Amendment.”
To Shelby, Obama’s action on guns fits a pattern of ignoring Congress. “The president’s been going bananas, I believe, on executive orders, and this is just one of them,” he said.
Shelby also called for eliminating the filibuster in order to grease the path for conservative legislation.
He said he understands the frustration of conservative voters over the impotence of Congress challenging Obama’s agenda even though Republicans control both houses of Congress.
“Yet we’re stalled up here,” he said. “And we’re stalled, basically, because we haven’t moved the legislative process to 51 votes … We should do this. We should electrify our base. We should make the president sign or veto good legislation.”
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., changed Senate rules when his party controlled the Senate to require only 51 votes — instead of 60 — to confirm presidential appointments. In February, Shelby called for eliminating the super-majority for legislation, as well, as a way to break a deadlock over a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security.
Not that Shelby has been shy about taking advantage of the parliamentary tool. According to the group killfill.com, Shelby participated in 451 filibusters during his Senate career as of 2014.
For the first time in years, Shelby is facing a credible primary challenge by candidates trying to run to his right. On the show, he sounded as far as possible from Establishment candidate. He said Congress should “absolutely not” try to ran the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade through through a lame-duck session after the election.
“I voted against that to begin with,” he said. “There are so many secret protocols in that. I don’t believe this is going to be good for Americans, good for American manufacturers, good for American workers.”
Shelby also blasted the massive spending bill passed at the end of last year. “They funded a lot of liberal causes that are in that omnibus bill,” he said. “That’s why a lot of Republicans, including me, voted against that.”
Shelby pronounced himself steadfastly against illegal immigration, which he said reduces job opportunities for Americans. “The American working people know that,” he said. “They feel that … And you can’t blame them.”