Titus defends Obama’s use of presidential authority

Former U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, who is running for the House, on Wednesday defended President Barack Obama for taking executive actions to get around Congress on everything from immigration to welfare policy.

Still Titus, a political scientist, said Obama’s expanding use of his presidential authority is part of a dangerous trend in which the three branches of government – the executive, legislative and judicial – are crossing constitutional lines. The Democrat noted the courts have been deciding tax and other policies on the state and national levels, too.

“More and more of those checks and balances have been lost,” Titus said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s editorial board. “I think some of the president’s actions have been out of frustration because you can’t get anything out of the Congress.”

Asked whether Obama is setting a dangerous precedent by making more frequent end runs around Congress, Titus said unilateral action by the president is disturbing, but she blamed growing partisanship.

“Well, I think it is dangerous, but I don’t think that you can just pin it all on what this president has done,” Titus said. “It’s a much bigger systematic problem than what this president’s done.”

Two years ago, Titus barely lost re-election in a swing district to U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., when Republicans were on the rise and Obama was unpopular because of the dismal economy. This year, Titus is running to replace U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., who is seeking the Senate in a race against U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

After redistricting, Berkley’s redrawn 1st Congressional District remains a safe bet for Titus with the Democratic Party holding a two-to-one voter registration edge over Republicans. That puts Titus’ GOP opponent, little-known naval officer Chris Edwards, at a great disadvantage and all but assures her of victory on Nov. 6.

Titus said she is taking nothing for granted, however. She has opened an office in a heavily Hispanic area of the district to reach out to Latino voters. Her diverse urban district also includes Chinatown in the southwest valley.

Titus said she supported Obama’s executive decision last month to order his administration not to deport millions of people who were brought to this country illegally by their relatives when they were young. Instead, he ordered a new program to offer young adult illegal immigrants who grew up here two-year work permits.

Obama said he took the action because Congress wouldn’t pass the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to U.S. citizenship for young undocumented immigrants raised in the United States. To qualify for citizenship under the act, the youthful applicants would have to attend college or join the U.S. military.

Titus voted for the DREAM Act when she was in the House and said she would vote for it again.

“They are as American as anybody,” Titus said of the young immigrants, adding more needs to be done with an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. “I think you have to have broad immigration reform. You can’t just keep putting your head in the sand and act like this program doesn’t exist.”

As Obama runs for re-election, he has been taking more executive actions that appeal to voting blocs he needs – such as Hispanics and the young – or to accomplish parts of his agenda that Congress rejects.

The Obama administration has dubbed it a “We Can’t Wait” strategy to blow by congressional opposition.

Obama recently has announced initiatives that could help 1.6 million college students repay their federal loans, 1 million homeowners meet their mortgage payments and 8,000 veterans find jobs.

The Obama administration earlier this month announced it would give states more latitude in running federal welfare-to-work programs. Republicans complained, calling it a power grab and saying the move undercuts the 1996 overhaul of welfare policy that required aide recipients to work for the money.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney slammed Obama, accusing him of wanting to “strip” the law.

Titus said the Obama administration may be trying to give states more flexibility just as states are allowed the chance to opt out of education programs such as No Child Left Behind.

“When those welfare reforms were put in place under (President Bill) Clinton, they seemed to work well at the time,” Titus said, adding giving states flexibility should please Republicans who believe in states’ rights.

Titus said lawmakers at the national and state level do seem to be losing power. She joked that the Nevada Legislature lost or gave away much of its authority during the last session. A state Supreme Court decision decided the budget. And a court-appointed committee determined redistricting, the once-a-decade process of redrawing electoral district lines that can determine the political fate of the state for the next 10 years.

“So now, I don’t even know why they go up there,” Titus said of Carson City, where lawmakers meet in session every two years and where she served for two decades, including as Senate minority leader.

On the national level, the U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld Obama’s signature health care law, calling it a tax because people who don’t buy insurance will be fined. Titus voted for the health care law, an unpopular vote for an unpopular law that may have cost her re-election in 2010. She stands by her vote and embraces the law still.

The high court threw out one part of the law, however: the requirement that states expand Medicaid, the health care system for the poor. GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval is considering whether to opt into the expansion. The federal government will mostly pay for it at first, but later added Medicaid recipients might become a state financial burden.

Titus said she thinks most governors will opt in because leaving people uninsured will cost the states more in indigent health care bills. The state’s general fund and property taxes go to pick up the indigent tab.

“I think the states are going to opt in,” Titus said, predicting the insurance lobby will turn up the pressure on them. “Our governor is being very cautious. I think it would be foolish not to opt in.”

Contact Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Follow @lmyerslvrj on Twitter.

VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance blood drive on October 1
A blood drive was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the one year anniversary of the Oct. 1 shooting. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance Lights memorial unveiled at St. Rose hospital
A dedication ceremony was held at St. Rose to unveil a memorial and to read the names of those who died on October 1, a year ago. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like