Op-Eds

TRI-CITY RECORD: Constitutional Check through Enumerated Powers Act

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Washington, DC, Feb 23, 2012 | Meghan Kolassa ((202) 225-3761) | comments
By Rep. Fred Upton -

Since taking the majority last year, House Republicans have worked hard to put a halt on federal deficit spending and restore government to its limited role.  While much pro-gress has been made, the fact remains that government has grown wildly beyond what our Founders could ever have imagined.  In fact, it has grown far beyond what those born only a few generations ago could have imagined.
 
House Republicans began last year with a pledge to the American people to reform government – including Congress itself – and restore the public trust through greater transparency and accountability.  In the House, we have done just that. 
 
The House now requires legislation to be available at least three days before it is voted upon, allowing the public and Members of Congress the opportunity to read and under-stand the bills Congress passes.  The House also now requires that all proposed legislation include a statement of Constitutional authority – a provision that cites the specific source of authority under the U.S. Constitution that allows for the enactment of that particular bill.
 
We all remember from high school civics class that the powers and responsibilities of Congress can be found in Article 1 Section 8 of the United States Constitution, and that those powers are explicitly limited by the Bill of Rights and other constitutional provisions.  Requiring all bills to contain a simple statement of Constitutional authority is an easy yet effective way to keep government in check.
 
While such a statement is required under current House rules, it is not required under the rules of the Senate and may be removed from the House rules in the future at the whim of the majority party.  That is why I have once again cosponsored legislation – H.R. 125, the Enumerated Powers Act – which would permanently codify this re-quirement for both the House and Senate.
 
Today, our $15 trillion national debt equates to roughly $50,000 for every American man, woman, and child.  We owe it to future generations to reduce that burden and bring government back in line.  Looking to our own Constitution is a logical and simple first step.

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