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Our New Congress: What Are We Going to Do About It?

"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country" is not just a touch typing exercise.

by
Dan Miller

Bio

January 5, 2011 - 12:00 am
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One further thought: there are other less potent tools than the power of the purse, such as the Congressional Review Act passed in 1966 and they may have their place. There are some other things certain to result in failure and they would only be distractions from accomplishing what needs to be done. For example, repeal of ObamaCare — that would take a veto proof majority and we don’t have one. Save it for the next Congress if we are so fortunate and in the meantime kill off the vital supply of our money; starvation is almost as good as repeal. A constitutional amendment authorizing the states, by two/thirds majority, to repeal legislation would be a long and almost certainly fruitless row to hoe and it just ain’t gonna happen. There is no need to “repeal” the recent legislation on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” as some would like; the new rules to be adopted by the Department of Defense can’t go into effect without congressional approval. As noted here:

A full repeal will not take affect until at least 60 days after the president, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen sign a letter addressed to the congressional armed services committee confirming the repeal of the policy will not affect military readiness.

Provided that implementation does not adversely affect military readiness, I have no problems with it. However, I think it probably would and with two wars in progress and at least one more perhaps on the horizon, now does not seem to be a propitious time. In any event, the armed service committees get to decide whether they like what the secretary proposes to do and implementation of new DOD rules, like everything else the government does, will require money and that can be withheld far more readily than repeal of the recent legislation could be accomplished. That would also require a veto-proof majority. Also, just one house of Congress can refuse to pass necessary changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice; that can’t be done by executive fiat. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings and she has only just begun to rehearse for the concert.

It’s important to avoid fantasies and to focus exclusively on what can actually be accomplished by the new Congress. The CongressCritters will have their hands more than full and if we can keep them out of our pockets and thereby get rid of the most objectionable Obama initiatives that will be enough for the next two years.

A wee tot of transparency would help, but even without that the opportunities are available for the taking and to fail to take full advantage of them would be criminal on the part of the new Republican House and the newly reconstituted Senate. For We the Peons to fail to impress upon them the absolute necessity of doing so would make us no less culpable. Strong and frequent reminders of the need and of the elections looming in November of 2012 are required now to no lesser extent than were efforts to throw the jerks out last November.

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Dan Miller graduated from Yale University in 1963 and from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1966. He retired from the practice of law in Washington, D.C., in 1996 and has lived in a rural area in Panama since 2002.
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