Posted by: Debby Durkee | January 15, 2011

Congress must assert its power.

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Congress must assert its power.

George Will says that Congress has abdicated its authority to the executive branch (and to a lesser degree to the judicial branch) for far too long. The executive branch has, through the years, increased its power because of a lazy Congress unwilling to do the hard work of writing laws and performing the necessary oversight of the executive branch. The executive branch, through the growth of federal bureaucracies and unelected czars, increasingly writes the laws they are only supposed to enforce. With the advent of the Obama presidency, this laxness by Congress has created an emergency situation for the freedom of the nation itself. Will says it’s time for Congress to take its power back. This is from the Washington Post.

Unlike most of the 111 that preceded it, the 112th Congress must begin the process of restoring the national regime and civic culture the Founders bequeathed. This will require reviving the rule of law, reasserting the relevance of the Constitution and affirming the reality of American exceptionalism.

Congress is being derogated and marginalized by two developments. One is the apotheosis of the presidency as the mainspring of the government and the custodian of the nation’s soul. The second is the growing autonomy of the regulatory state, an apparatus responsive to presidents.

The eclipse of Congress by the executive branch and other agencies is Congress’s fault. It is the result of lazy legislating and lax oversight. Too many “laws” actually are little more than pious sentiments endorsing social goals – environmental, educational, etc. – the meanings of which are later defined by executive-branch rule-making. In creating faux laws, the national legislature often creates legislators in the executive branch, making a mockery of the separation of powers…

Unfortunately, courts long ago made clear that they will not seriously inhibit Congress’s scandalous delegation of its lawmaking function to others…

…America was born in recoil against an overbearing executive’s “repeated injuries and usurpations” (the Declaration of Independence); modern conservatism was born in reaction against executive aggrandizement, first by Franklin Roosevelt, then by his acolyte Lyndon Johnson.  Snip –

Will goes on to say that since 1968 Republicans have won many presidential elections and began to let slide the conservative ideal of checks and balances regarding the strength of the executive as opposed to the balance of the legislature.

…Unfortunately, for too long too many supine courts have flinched from enforcing the doctrine of enumerated powers, and too many Congresses have enjoyed emancipation from that doctrine. So restraint by the judiciary must be replaced by congressional self-restraint.

The idea of American exceptionalism is obnoxious to progressives, who, evidently unaware of the idea’s long pedigree (it traces to Alexis de Tocqueville) and the rich scholarship concerning the idea, assume it is a crude strain of patriotism. America, Tocqueville said, is unique because it was born free – free of a feudal past, free from an entrenched aristocracy and established religion.

The American Revolution was a political, not a social, revolution; it was about emancipating individuals for the pursuit of happiness, not about the state allocating wealth and opportunity. Hence our exceptional Constitution, which says not what government must do for Americans but what it cannot do to them. Snip –

Two years into Barack Obama’s presidency, we now know what he meant about “hope” and “change” – he and other progressives hope to change our national character. Three weeks into his presidency, Newsweek, unhinged by adoration of him and allowing its wishes to father its thoughts, announced that “we are all socialists now” and that America “is moving toward a modern European state.” The electorate emphatically disagreed and created the 112th Congress, with its exceptionally important agenda.

When it became obvious to many Americans what a monster we had in the executive, the Tea Parties sprung up prepared to take the country back. The 112th Congress is only the first step in that effort. Americans must continue to do their own part in taking back the power that Congress has so long neglected. Your representatives need to be reminded that the people’s power rests with the legislature, and we fully intend to keep it. Read it all here:


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