North Carolina congressional report

Dan Way, associate editor of the Carolina Journal (CarolinaJournal.com), reported in the December 2015 issue a political event in Wilmington, North Carolina last month. Seventh District U. S. Representative David Rouzer discussed federal agency rules that will harm the America economy, including that of this State.

With all due respect to Rep. Rouzer his complaints about the excessive power, including new draconian agency rules, of the Environmental Protection Agency resound as though Congress is simply a bystander in the federal quest for more power. Yet, Congress has ultimate power to legislate not only what these agencies do, but to create or eliminate their very existence—and to restrict their funding.

Mr. Rouzer told his local audience of the need to pay attention to EPA’s “idiotic rules and regulatory overreach.” He said EPA alone has issued more than 3,100 new regulations since Obama took office. It’s a pattern, he said, for the Obama administration to issue regulations when Congress won’t pass legislation the president wants.

Well, this is clearly a usurpation of constitutional power. Article II gives no such power to the executive branch of government.

Article I, Section 1. states: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” Section 8. states: “(Congress has the power) To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

Unfortunately, over the years Congress has abdicated its authority to the agencies it has created. They are allowed to essentially establish their own powers through internal rules and regulations. Thus, many are now virtually out of control of Congress.

Congress has the power to control the natural tendency of government to expand its power by limiting funding of its activities. At one time every agency faced annual appropriations with legislative riders as to how the funding could be spent, or not. That no longer applies and these bureaucracies essentially run on “auto-pilot.”

As a “freshman” congressman, Mr. Rouzer cannot be held responsible for sins of omission of his predecessors. And, to his credit, he has co-sponsored legislation to repeal the Water of the USA rule—a costly regulation that would allow the EPA to control all land use in nearly the entire 7th Congressional District of North Carolina.

EPA also has a Clean Power scheme to force electric power plants to reduce the use of inexpensive fuels, especially waging Obama’s war on coal. If this regulation stands our residential electric bills in North Carolina will increase several hundred dollars annually within a few years. And “hundreds of thousands of people” in 40 States will lose their jobs.

Unfortunately, instead of passing strong new legislation to rein-in the federal tentacles and restricting funds to starve the beast’s power grab, Congress has dithered around with “resolutions” and “challenging” the rules in court. Courts have also assumed legislative powers authorized only to Congress by the Constitution.

Senator James Inhofe, R-Okla. (a staunch conservative I very much admire) chairman of the Environment and Public Works committee correctly noted the problem. “In this country, it is Congress who writes the laws, not EPA.”

Yes, Senator, so why don’t your colleagues join you to do just that? Congress has Republican majorities in both houses. If Obama vetoes your legislation, at least, you will be in the game–and get more respect from the American people.

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About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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