To take yet another example, Congressman Steve King of Iowa observes that Obama has serially flouted the federal law that requires the president to submit a plan to address Medicare’s fiscal health if, as long ago happened, the program’s trustee issues an insolvency warning. The president does not even deem himself obliged to follow the health-care law he famously championed, imperiously issuing numerous “waivers” to excuse non-compliance. He asserts executive privilege frivolously to stonewall Congress’s investigation of his Justice Department’s Fast and Furious program. In addition, he flouts the Constitution’s requirement that Congress actually be in recess before a president can make recess appointments. …

The current Congress, however, has partisan Democrats running the Senate. They just encourage Obama’s skirting of the law because they agree with his policies. The House, on the other hand, is run by Republicans, but they are afraid to use their “power of the purse” to pressure the White House into lawful behavior. The Constitution requires all revenue bills to originate in the House, a requirement the House has traditionally construed to extend to all spending bills. Republican leadership would have you believe that out-of-control government spending is on autopilot. GOP leaders want you to think that, when an executive agency like the Justice Department goes rogue, they are simply powerless to start slashing its budget. But the spending and the taxes necessary to support executive malfeasance can happen only with the House’s complicity. Lawmakers have the power to stop this stuff, they just lack the will.