US House Should Reassert Its Constitutional Authority

Constitution_10fPeople should pay attention to this Tuesday’s meeting of the newly elected incoming House Republicans, as there will likely be two relatively obscure but extremely important items discussed.

The first will be a proposal by Representative James Renacci of Illinois to move back the internal leadership elections until after the lame duck Congress, allowing new members some perspective on how the leadership structure works prior to locking in the new leadership team for next year.

While the impact of the Renacci proposal is evident, there is a second proposal by Representative Ken Buck that would open the door to the House being able to more forcefully assert their Article One powers to rein in the Administrative state overreaches by the outgoing Administration.

While the Congressional Review Act empowers this Congress to deal with any regulations that had not been finalized by around June 1, the Buck proposal would create an Article I calendar to expedite consideration of legislation that repeals Executive Orders, Memorandums and regulations imposed by the Executive branch.

A common refrain heard by those seeking to limit the size and scope of government about the prospects of important legislation coming to the floor to rein in the Administrative state is “there is no time.”  Voters demanded change and the Buck proposal to the House rules would show that this House of Representatives will not settle for business as usual.

The Buck proposal would create time each week for single subject bills to come to the floor for consideration. Procedurally, unlike the two-thirds majority vote required by the Suspension Calendar for passage, the Article I Calendar would require a simple majority vote for passage. Additionally, ten-minute debate for each piece of legislation considered is consistent with the same time floor amendments receive during the Appropriations process.

With the massive increase of regulations costing over $100 million dollars and the expected Midnight Madness rush of regulations from the outgoing Obama Administration, the only expeditious way for House Republicans to roll back the Obama legacy is through the Article I calendar.

The rule would preserve all other ways to defund and repeal executive branch actions. The Article I Calendar however re-establishes the House’s primacy in being the people’s watchdog against Executive Branch overreach, making the work of the House more expeditious and allowing all Members the ability to effectively represent their constituents by getting votes on issues important to them.

When the next House Republicans convene on Tuesday, November 15 to decide the rules that will govern them, it is hoped that they will take two actions: move the decision on the next Congress’ leadership back until after the lame duck and assert their Constitutional authority by adding Ken Buck’s Article One calendar to the House rules.  It is time to clean the barn of the destructive regulatory regime established by the last Administration, and the Buck proposal would allow Congress a reasonable means to get the broom out.

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