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Coburn: ‘Laziness’ in Congress Has Fed Growing Power in the Executive Branch

Coburn said the people who come to Congress are those seeking “to rise on the political career” rather than fix the institution.

by
Rodrigo Sermeño

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March 7, 2014 - 7:15 am
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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said Congress has given up a lot of its power to the executive branch due to “laziness” and “lack of leadership.”

“We’ve given up a lot of power, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Coburn said Thursday at CPAC’s 41st annual meeting.

George Will joined the Oklahoma senator in a roundtable discussion asking whether Congress matters anymore at a time when executive power is on the rise.

Coburn explained the problem was a Congress that fails to fulfill its oversight responsibility and that is not interested in gaining the knowledge needed to solve the nation’s problems due to a “lack of work ethic.”

“Where’s the work that we’re paid to do to protect the Constitution?” Coburn said.

He said that if Congress truly wants small government it should force votes to limit government.

“We’re running under the rule of rulers. The very thing that binds us together as a nation is confidence in the rule of law. Poor leadership undermines that, good leadership reinforces that,” Coburn said.

Will said the abuse of executive authority did not start with the Obama administration, noting that the president was just continuing a pre-existing pattern established by previous administrations.

“Our country was founded in reaction against executive overreach – the prerogatives of the British sovereign,” he said. “This has been an enduring problem in American history.”

Coburn said the people who come to Congress are those seeking “to rise on the political career” rather than fix what is wrong with Congress.

“The conflict on both sides of the aisle is: ‘my political career trumps the best interests and thoughts of our founders,’” Coburn said. “That’s where we are today.”

A solution to this problem would be to introduce term limits, he said.

Will said members of Congress would never vote to limit their terms. Instead, he offered a more plausible alternative: no current member of Congress should be allowed to run for re-election unless there was a balanced budget.

Coburn, a hero among fiscal hawks, publishes every year his “Wastebook” highlighting wasteful and frivolous spending.

“There shouldn’t be just one Wastebook every year, there ought to be 535 Wastebooks,” Coburn said. “There ought to be 535 members doing the oversight and creating the transparency so that the American people know exactly what’s happening inside their government instead of working to make sure that they don’t know.”

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All Comments   (17)
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Precisely the point! Capitalism's corporate 'FOR PROFIT' structure is being incorporated into Washington DC's We the Elite People of Culture of Corruption with an expectation the out come will be a Washington DC PROFIT MARGIN! Say WHAT?HUH???? Government for profit? Since when...it's an oxymoron! No Government never, ever measured its "product" as that of having a semblance of ROI (that's Return On Investment). Government's sole existence is WASTE, CRONY CAPITALISM, back room dealing, shady, sweet-heart deals, and tit-for-tat electioneering decision-making. Never, ever has any public sector entity now or ever, given Americans a "Tax Break!" Period! That's why, Reforming The Tax Code is pure flimflammery of the highest order...as a matter of fact if Washington DC Elites could figure out a way to squeeze more money out of an already overburdened taxpaying electorate, they sure would've by now...humm, Obamacare comes to mind.
Nope, if Washington DC already has "Lost It's Way," attempting to spiff-up the lawyering class with a "corporate make-over" will merely create a bigger, bloated, and super human, dysfunctional system of:Executive, Legislative and Judicial department type "flow chart." Join a Tea Party, Support a local Article V committee for:1)term limits, 2) balanced budget and 3) return of States Rights.
Pray. Amen. God Bless America.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Being in congress is a sure way of becoming a multi millionaire without working. .With it comes early retirement alsol
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Congress has given up alot of it's power to the executive branch. And whose fault is that Mr. Coburn. You have a feckless, spinless majority in the House afraid of their own shadows, worried that someone might step out of a congressional bathroom and call you racist so you hang your heads and hide. God we need a third party.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have a lot of respect and admiration for Tom Coburn as a US Senator, however his achillies heal was that he thought that you could make good compromises with Marxists. They are never good compromises, they always advance Marxist agendas and goals. He assumed that these Marxists in the Democrat Party are good hearted patriots that were interested in what is best for the country. Nothing could be further from the truth.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
McConnell told the CPAC audience that liberals hated it when Coburn stepped on to the Senate floor.

“He isn’t afraid about anything or anyone,” McConnell said. “He never put himself above the cause.”


Bullsh*t. If Coburn wasn't afraid of anyone or anything, McConnell would have kept his traitorous mouth shut.

Coburn didn't crucify Boehner or McConnell, and that tells me he really doesn't understand the nature of the problem at all.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been saying this for years...months, well, anyway...a long time :)

How come it only merits a column when Tom Coburn (a good guy who is leaving the Senate at the end of this congressional session) says it ?

(just kidding, sort of)
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
George Will doesn't get it. He's correct that Washingtonians will never term limit themselves but then lapses into traditional elitist groupthink with the blather about yet another promise to balance the budget.....or else everyone has to retire. Never mind that the current crop of kleptocratic slime will increase taxes to arrive at a phony budget balance because they won't cut anything but the military.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
The "balanced budget amendment" is libertarian unicorn farts.

A balanced budget amendment to the Constitution is a trap. It's a mental trap to make you think you're safe when you really aren't. It's identical to the Debt Limit.

Hey, Congress passed a law requiring the U.S. government to avoid accruing too much debt. Hows that F**KING working out for you? Not at all? No frigging duh.

So, when you hear some statist bastard talk about a balanced budget amendment, tell him to shut his pie hole. The only way to keep spending down is for the people to keep the elected officials in line. Fire them. Call them. Write them. Write articles in the paper.

That's how you keep your government accountable, not setting government on cruise control and then turning off your brain.

By the way, I agree with BrandingIron5 and my comment isn't directed at him.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey, wht not Coburn For President?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
How long was Coburn in Congress? So, if the problem has been laziness and lack-of-leadership, where was he this whole time? This is the first I've heard the man speak of it.

Sounds to me like he's been a large part of the problem.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said Congress has given up a lot of its power to the executive branch due to “laziness” and “lack of leadership.”

Well, there's a load of horse manure. Congress has given up its power to Obama for two reasons; democrats have for years placed party ideology over ANY other consideration and Congressional republicans have fully moved from compromise to calculated collaboration. 'Laziness' and 'lack of leadership' have NOTHING to do with it.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
That is right, Conservatives appetite for advancing Marxism has reached Immovable Object proportions. No more compromise.

Although, it seems that the RINOs have one more trick up their sleeves to usher in a new Marxist One Party Rule State, Amnesty.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Generalizations being generally false it would be wrong to generalize about a generation of people being lazy and incompetent. But the Boomers share moved the curve that way. The ones who live in my neighborhood can't even be bothered to clean up after their dogs. And get all p***y when you politely ask them to.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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