Recently, I received a 2016 Congressional District Census “commissioned” by the Republican Party,–“a key facet of our overall campaign strategy”—one of several sent to me during previous years. It was flattering that I was “selected to represent Voters in North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District…because of your high level of political involvement.” My personal input, I was informed, “is critical to our nation’s future.”
In the cover letter from Chairman Reince Priebus I was reminded that this census during the 2014 elections helped the RNC gather “critical data and voter profiles” that enabled Republicans to “win a Republican U. S. Senate Majority, maintain and strengthen our Republican U. S. House Majority and win more governorships across the country.”
So, I thought, what happened? Why have we, the majority, seen little active opposition to the leftist agenda pushed by President Obama and his Marxist administration?
For example, in the Domestic Issues questions, “Do you favor efforts by Republicans in Congress to cut the corporate income tax rate?” Of course, I do. But why hasn’t the “Republican” Congress sent legislation to the president?
“Do you favor a major overhaul of the current Federal Tax Code?” Yes, but where is the Republican legislation to do this?
“How concerned are you that our federal debt” is “$18 trillion?” I’m very concerned, but why did Republicans vote to raise the debt limit?
“Do you think…Republican agenda should…restore opportunity…without expanding entitlement programs?” Certainly, but why have Republicans voted to fund these programs?
“Do you feel that forcing employers to pay higher wages will hurt or help the economy?” Of course it hurts. It adds to unemployment, but why don’t Republicans fight against a “Minimum Wage”?
And on it went….
My thoughts on this were expanded in a scholarly speech by Christopher DeMuth Sr., a distinguished fellow at the Hudson Institute, given this past September at Hillsdale College’s (hillsdale.edu) annual Constitution Day Celebration in Washington, D.C.—appropriately titled, Reviving a Constitutional Congress.
Mr. DeMuth began his comments by noting that in all societies’ struggles for power and advantage are a constant. In democratic systems those forces are organized and promoted in political campaigns and elections. Insidiously, they are “equally present within government…not always observable.”
Our American constitutional government until recently has been revered by our citizens. “Checks and balances are important means of policing the corruption and abuse that arise whenever power is monopolized,” said Mr. DeMuth. But he is correct in observing that we are losing the original genius of our Founder’s balance of power concept between the three branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial.
Historically, these powers have shifted. But the Constitution shows that the most important branch was the legislative. Ten sections in Article I give explicitly detailed lists of many powers vested there.
Only four sections in Article II give the president limited authority, the most important as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy and the State Militias. He can make treaties and appoint various officers of the United States, but not without approval by the Senate. He must give an “Oath or Affirmation” that he will “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. And he, and other government officials, can be removed from office for treason, bribery, or other crimes. Clearly, the founders put the presidential power on a tight leash.
Judicial powers of the United States “shall be vested in one supreme Court” and inferior courts that Congress may establish. They are defined and limited.
Although it has happened in the past, DeMuth cites many examples of our current president, federal agencies and the Supreme Court “seizing congressional prerogatives.”
Obama has “effectively rewritten important provisions of the Affordable Care Act and immigration law, while circumventing the Constitution’s requirement of Senate approval for senior executive appointments.”
“The Environmental Protection Agency has contorted the Clean Air Act beyond recognition to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.”
“The Supreme Court has acquiesced in most of these executive usurpations, while taking for itself the authority to decide live political controversies. It played both roles last June, first approving the Obama administration’s unilateral extension of tax credits to persons who purchase health insurance on the federal Obamacare exchange, then declaring same-sex marriage a constitutional right.”
Worst of all, says Mr. DeMuth, “Congress itself, despite its complaints about executive and judicial poaching, has been giving up its constitutional powers voluntarily and proactively for decades. Therein lays the rub.
We can no longer trust those we elect to represent the people’s interest. DeMuth notes that our representatives have “delegated broad lawmaking authority to a proliferating array of regulatory agencies, from EPA to OSHA.” Lately they have defaulted authority to “numerous executive councils, boards, and bureaus under Obamacare and Dodd-Frank.”
No wonder federal regulatory burdens have become unbearable to our citizens.
“In recent years, Congress has even handed off its constitutional crown jewels—its exclusive powers, assigned in Article I, Sections 8 and 9, to determine federal taxing and spending. Several executive agencies now set and collect their own taxes or generate revenues in other ways, and spend the proceeds on themselves or on grant programs of their own devising, without congressional involvement.”
Some of us remember the days when Congress passed annual appropriations, agency by agency, often directing specifically how they could or could not spend the funds.
DeMuth recounts how recently “following its hapless efforts to use the debt ceiling to force policy concessions from the administration, Congress washed its hands of the borrowing power, too, telling the Treasury that it may borrow as needed to pay the governments’ bills for a set period of time.”
I recall that feckless Republicans frightened that Democrats would accuse them of “shutting down the government”—and the press would make it stick if Obama vetoed their legislation— wouldn’t even send bills to him.
Mr. DeMuth refers to this as “congressional self-enfeeblement.” When congressional Republicans announced after last year’s elections that they would not appropriate funds for Obama to make unilateral changes in immigration policy, they discovered that the Citizenship and Immigration Services agency finances itself independent of Congress.
Worse yet, Congress can’t pass any of 12 single agency appropriations. It is boxed in with Continuing Resolutions—“a last minute blunderbuss statute that extends the previous year’s entire federal budget with broad percentage adjustments…The CR surrenders Congress’s power of the purse,” says DeMuth.
Congress is essentially sitting on the sidelines during the Obama vs. Republicans game. When they do want to play Obama takes the ball and goes to a fund-raising event, or plays golf.
No wonder American conservatives are fed up with Congress. There are a few courageous people in that body, but they are outnumbered and unsupported by the leadership. It doesn’t surprise me that engaged conservatives rally on candidates willing to actively oppose the leftists now in control of our federal government. We’ve been burned too many times by Party establishment presidential candidates who won’t deliver us a limited government, responsible to the people.
We are fed up with the unbalanced and unrepresentative system. The news articles below give an indication of how desperately we need honest, courageous leaders who will stand against the political subversives and traitors to our traditional American values.