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Arizona Sen. John McCain says executive action has its place, but so does Congress

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LISTEN: Arizona Senator John McCain joins the show.

PHOENIX — Recent American presidents’ use of executive action is a trend that U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona said the legislative branch should plays its part in the process of governing.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt there has been a tilt towards the executive branch … and I think we need to be careful of that,” McCain told KTAR Arizona’s Morning News on Wednesday.

“But I also think the Congress of the United States has got to assert its constitutional obligations, as well.”

President Donald Trump had signed 10 executive actions in his first half-week in the White House, including rollback of the Affordable Care Act, a federal hiring freeze and pulling the country out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

Trump was expected Wednesday to order construction of a border wall between the United States and Mexico, which he promised from the start of his campaign.

“I was deeply concerned over the last eight years when President Obama said he had a phone and a pen and issued a flood … of executive orders,” McCain said.

Obama signed 279 executive orders during his presidency. His predecessor George W. Bush signed 291.

“We’ve seen them issue executive orders on the issues that they campaigned on, to show their supporters and the American people that they were serious about the promises that they made,” McCain said.

But the three branches of government — legislative, executive and judicial — were put in place for a reason, McCain said.

“We’re going through ‘advise and consent’ with (Trump’s) nominees.

“I think you’re going to see a more assertive Congress, even though we have a president of the same party, I think we want to make sure that we carry out our responsibilities, as well.”

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