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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

This is a bit of a rant but a timely one since our brand spankin’ new Congress will be sworn in today and start work on January 6, 2011 — perhaps with a reading of the United States Constitution, a wholesome but largely symbolic gesture. We elected the new folks and got rid of lots (but not enough) of the old because we wanted them to do something to end the accelerating spiral rush toward a multicultural Hell on which we have been little more than unwilling passengers, required to go along for the ride but not allowed access to the steering wheel or brakes. With a solidly Republican House and a more Republican Senate the new Congress can respond to the old command of ”don’t just sit there, do something!” Whether it will remains to be seen.

The new Congress has very powerful tools ready for its use, particularly the new House which holds the strings to our purse; the tools must be used and if the House needs to be reminded with whose purse it has been entrusted, so be it. We have that capability and if we don’t use it then we are willing victims of scam artists of the highest caliber.

There is no ObamaMoney, it all comes via appropriations and they originate in the House. As noted here:

Recent news stories about ObamaCare’s planned implementation should be a clarion call for conservatives to focus their attention on the administrative and bureaucratic arenas with as much or more intensity as they have to defeat ObamaCare in the political and legal arenas.

For starters, I laid out here what I think will be a very effective way for the House to disburse funds from our purse to roll back the most obnoxious parts of the Obama agenda by writing separate and restrictive — important words — appropriations bills for different governmental activities. Even if they didn’t have to originate there, appropriations bills could not be passed without the vote of a majority of the Honorable Members temporarily given seats in the House. They can’t be rejected by the Senate or vetoed by the president without stopping the government, which neither the Senate nor President Obama seems willing to permit.

The best and — as far as I have been able to discover, only — beneficial thing the Congress did during the lame duck session was to defeat efforts to pass an omnivorousbus spending bill to fund federal activities through all of fiscal 2011. Limited funding was provided, but only through March 4, 2011 — two months after the new Congress is seated. After that, the government runs out of our money unless the supply is replenished by the new Congress in a bill originating in the House. Defeat of the omnibus spending bill was good; season’s greetings be upon them. It was probably the best Christmas gift they were able to give the country and I am grateful:

Left-leaning think tanks already disappointed with President Obama’s tax-cut compromise fear its political and economic benefits will be wiped out by budget cuts in the next Congress.

They argue Obama and congressional Democrats will come to regret not moving a yearlong continuing resolution or omnibus bill that would have locked in spending and administration policy for all of fiscal 2011.

Tough. They didn’t do it and that’s a good thing. The focus of the linked article from The Hill is on economic matters. Those are obviously very important but the economy has become inextricably intertwined with social legislation and administrative social regulation — global warming, forced unionization, immigration reform, and a whole cornucopia of other ill-advised social “progress” stuff — that even mere business uncertainty has had substantial adverse impacts on the economy. Until that uncertainty is removed no economic stimulus package will do more than put the country further in debt and further behind. Then it won’t be needed.

There are so many places to start that even to select a few for the defunding prize or even for “honorable mention” would be a Herculean task. Still, a few stand out. The Environmental Perversion Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Statutory Abuse Communications Commission, the Department of Religious meddling Justice and now the Department of Obesity Reduction Agriculture would be good starts. So, to the extent that such is possible, would be the United in destruction of civilization Nations, which is about to have a conference supporting racism and has strayed so far from its course as anticipated by Winston Churchill that it resembles his dream less than does a horse resemble a snake.

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.

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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