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Congress and the Constitution? A Republican Takeover Agenda

July 28, 2010
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According to Kathryn Jean Lopez over at National Review Online, the GOP is devising an agenda for the 2010 elections.  Personally, I think that is fantastic.  I want to know what the people I elect plan on doing so I can hold their feet to the fire – or perhaps pull them off the fire if I disagree with the agenda.  To quote her blurb on ‘The Corner’, the potential plans are;

Require congressional approval of all new executive branch rules with an economic cost of $100 million or more, allow small businesses to take a tax deduction of up to 20 percent of their income, repeal Obamacare, replace Obamacare with reforms such as allowing Americans to purchase health care across state lines, end bailouts permanently, freeze Congress’ budget, cut spending instead of more “stimulus” spending, place strict and enforceable caps on federal discretionary spending, codify the Hyde Amendment to ban all taxpayer funding of abortion, fully fund missile defense, require all bills to be posted online for at least three days before they can come to a vote, ban “omnibus” bills so that major legislation is advanced only one issue at a time, allow cameras in all committee hearings including the powerful Rules Committee that decides which bills and amendments come to a vote, keep Gitmo open and prevent the importation of terrorists into America, require all bills to cite the portion of the Constitution that gives Congress the authority to do what the bill proposes.

I like all of those ideas, but the one requiring lawmakers to cite the Constitution is my favorite by far.  Why, you may ask?  Currently, I’m not really sure that our lawmakers actually know what their job in Congress is.  I tend to believe that many Congressmen and women think of Congress as a personal slush fund that allows them to pay off constituents in order to secure a highly paid job with an amazing amount of additional perks, but that’s just me being cynical.  I’m also not sure that most of them have any real understanding of the Constitution at all, especially not the history behind it.  So making them actually READ the Constitution and attaching Constitutional permission to a bill would be a welcome addition.

The truth is that these provisions would dramatically shrink the size of government and/or expand economic growth, and that is the end game for all real Conservatives, Tea Partiers, and Libertarians.  One could argue about the funding of missile defense systems shrinking government, but that is a constitutionally appropriate role of Congress.  In addition, it does not have to add on to the price of defense because there are always items in the defense budget that are bloated and unnecessary, but are ‘necessary’ to the electoral health some incumbent politicians.

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