Columns

Blaine's Bulletin: 229th Anniversary of Our Constitution

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Washington, September 9, 2016 | comments
“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
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“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

As our nation prepares to recognize the 229th anniversary of our Constitution, this is a good time to remind ourselves of the integrity and importance of this revered document.

Our Founding Fathers meticulously crafted the Constitution to prevent government encroachment upon the unalienable rights our Creator has endowed upon us. As stated in the Preamble, there are six guiding principles that outline the fundamental purpose of the supreme law of the land. When creating the Constitution, our Founding Fathers insisted on a separation of powers to protect the liberties governed by this document. However, in recent decades, the executive branch has continued to collect more power and is not held in check by the judiciary branch. It is up to Congress to continue to uphold what James Madison and the other Founding Fathers always envisioned – separation of powers between the three branches of government so that the government works for the people, not the other way around.

Earlier this year, House Republicans rolled out the Better Way agenda comprised of six specific sections, including upholding the Constitution. This comprehensive section lays a blueprint for how the House of Representatives can reinstate and preserve the Constitutional checks and balances in Washington. The Better Way highlights a number of bills House Republicans have introduced, passed, and will continue to pursue to restore the balance of power.

One bill included in the Better Way is the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which the House passed early in 2016. The idea behind this bill is simple: make Congress accountable for decisions to impose new major regulations, which hit the $100 million level, on Americans. Additionally, the agenda includes a bill I introduced and the House passed to prevent onerous federal regulations. The Providing Accountability Through Transparency Act would require each agency to publish an online, plain-language, 100-word summary of any proposed regulation – no matter how big or small. Lastly, my bill to end Operation Choke Point would also provide a check to the administration. You may recall that Operation Choke Point is the administration working with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Department of Justice to decide how to go after entire sectors of legal businesses to be choked off from the financial system.  

Another idea is to reform the Congressional Review Act to allow a single, up-or-down vote on any “midnight regulations” that are released from an outgoing Administration. Time after time, during the middle of the night, regulations are released during the end of a president’s term. Instead of continuing to allow that to happen, Congress should be able to take one vote on as many of the midnight, unlawful regulations as necessary.

In order to prevent government overreach, the Founders divided the governing body into distinct branches; each with its own equal, but separate, powers. And the supreme law of the land is clear: Congress, and only Congress, is vested with the power to write laws. A constitutional government listens to Americans and that is exactly what I will continue to do – listen to the will of the people and ensure that your government is working for you and upholding the living document that we live by each and every day. 

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