Free Markets, Free People


Let’s see how savvy the GOP really is …

POLITICO points out that the House Republicans are planning to announce their election agenda within the next two weeks.  That ought to be an interesting exercise.  This is supposedly a result of their “America Speaking Out” initiative, an online, grass-roots effort to build ideas from voters across the country. 

Two things that have leaked out sound great but most likely will have about the same impact as PAYGO:

One of the GOP proposals would require bills to have a specific citation of constitutional authority, on the heels of criticism that Democrats breached their constitutional limits in Congress with big-ticket bills like health care reform. If a member questioned whether the House had constitutional authority to pass a bill, that challenge would receive debate and a vote.

The second major initiative would encourage — though not require — members of Congress to read bills before they vote. According to a senior House GOP source, Republicans plan to push for a new rule that would require the House to publish the text of a bill online at least three days before the House votes on it, also giving the public an opportunity to review legislation.

The first is like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.  That nag fled decades ago.  Obviously I’d like to see the Constitution followed as it should be, but I find it highly unlikely that a body of lawyers would have any trouble rationalizing almost anything they come up with as “Constitutional”.  I mean, look around you.

The second is, well, window dressing.  While it sounds great, I have little confidence that a 2,500 page bill posted on line for 3 days allows anyone enough time to read it much less understand and react to it.  I cannot think of any bill that Congress considers and debates that couldn’t wait a month for enactment (other than perhaps some funding for a natural disaster, etc).  In that time a real reading could be done, and the appropriate debate among “the people” could take place.  What effect even that would have on the House is unknown, however, it certainly would raise the visibility of the debate to much different levels than now and provide a little accountability so sorely missing. 

We’re still digging horse apples out of the ObamaCare law.  It was passed in haste precisely because of the crap it had hidden inside.  Yet there is no reason whatsoever that bill couldn’t have been available on line for 30 days prior to House action.  None.  Making that a requirement (and if there’s a schedule that the House feels it must keep on certain reoccurring items like the budget – adapt.  Move the House work schedule for that bill back a month) would certainly go a lot further to keeping House members honest and between the ditches than anything.

The rest of the agenda remains veiled in generalities:

Other bills and initiatives that are likely to be launched alongside the agenda include tax policy proposals, health reform proposals and jobs-related measures, though GOP aides involved declined to release any specifics ahead of the unveiling.

POLITICO says some of them will be designed to appeal to the Tea Party vote.  The first is obviously designed to do that – but is it really something which can and will be enforced?  And if it is, will it actually have an effect.  Again, you’re asking a body of lawyers to vote on their interpretation of what the Constitution says, and most are going to fall back on “precedent”, i.e. the fact that in the past what many say is an unconstitutional expansion of government – see Commerce clause – has been upheld by the Supreme Court.  How in the world would this change that?

Anyway, given my dissatisfaction with the first two, the GOP does indeed need to roll out reasons to vote “for” them, rather than just against Democrats.  And most importantly, if they’re able to successfully appeal to the voters to vote “for” them, they better damn well execute.

~McQ

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Print
  • Google Bookmarks

23 Responses to Let’s see how savvy the GOP really is …

  • Obviously I’d like to see the Constitution followed as it should be, but I find it highly unlikely that a body of lawyers would have any trouble rationalizing almost anything they come up with as “Constitutional”.  I mean, look around you.
    Sadly true, McQ.  The people who will have to get this done are “we, the people”.  “They, the pols” are never going to do it.
    On the other hand, having a stated Constitutional ground for a bill may not be totally vacuous; it MIGHT pin the bill to A single basis, and that could prove useful in attacking in via litigation.  It certainly would be nice, just as a matter of civics.  ANY recognition of the Constitution in DC these days would be a BIG change.

  • Completely off topic but you should know, qando.net started generating the following security warning with the google chrome browser:  “The website at qando.net contains elements from the site rpc.blogrolling.com, which appears to host malware …”
    No idea why, started happening this week.

    • Thanks Greg – saw it. “RPC” is referring to “RealClearPolitics”. I’ll have to defer to Dale as to what “elements” we might have on the site. I do know that Firefox and IE are fine with the site.

  • “require bills to have a specific citation of constitutional authority”
    I see a giant rubber stamp with the words “Interstate Commerce Clause” in our future.

  • “This is supposedly a result of their “America Speaking Out” initiative, an online, grass-roots effort to build ideas from voters across the country.”

    More crap. They have been sending out surveys for years to alledgedly find out what their voters think. Always attached to a fund raising appeal. I will wager money that this so-called “America Speaking Out” initiative has a solicitation for donations attached. I will further wager that whatever agenda they put out is at best a watered down version of   the responses they received.

  • Agree with timactual – just more crap. Blah, blah, blah…..

    Let me see some action, then I MIGHT listen to your words.

  • McQI find it highly unlikely that a body of lawyers would have any trouble rationalizing almost anything they come up with as “Constitutional”.

    “Is that a serious question?  Is that a serious question?” – Nancy Pelosi

    Paying lip service to the constitutionality of a bill is at least a step in the right direction.  It’s better than members of Congress openly claiming that the Constitution gives them the power to do just about anything that they want.

    The second major initiative would encourage — though not require — members of Congress to read bills before they vote.

    This is easy:

    1.  No bill shall be longer than 2000 words; I think that this is about four pages of standard type.  Better still, require that congresscritters do as their forebears did and write their bills out in longhand!  And I mean the members must do it: no making a staffer or secretary do the grunt work.

    2.  All bills shall be read by the sponsoring member(s) in their entirety before a quorum of the members prior to any vote.  In the event that the bill is amended or changed in any way (such as by a conference committee), the resulting bill shall likewise be read in its entirety before a quorum of the members.

    3.  Unless a bill is determined to be of an urgent nature as determined by a 3/4 majority of the members, it shall be made available for public review for a period of at least thirty calendar days prior to a vote being taken on its passage.  The bill may not be amended during this review period.

    McQ[G]iven my dissatisfaction with the first two, the GOP does indeed need to roll out reasons to vote “for” them, rather than just against Democrats.  And most importantly, if they’re able to successfully appeal to the voters to vote “for” them, they better damn well execute.

    I hope that this election is a “last chance” for the GOP… and that they understand that.  Let me say that I’ve been a Republican since I was old enough to vote, but my level of contempt for the GOP is pretty high just now.  They are getting a mostly-undeserved shot at the reins again, mostly because the dems have proven (no surprise) just how awful they are.  If the GOP thinks that they can do business as usual, merely paying lip service to small government principles* and merely spending a bit less than the dems, then they deserve their place in the history books right alongside the Whigs, Federalists, and other political parties that outlived their usefulness.

    —–

    (*) The central issue is a small federal government.  A small government that has neither the power nor the appetite to attempt to run our lives.  Much is made of the “social-cons” who make up a significant fraction of the GOP.  Yes, they are certainly there and, in their own way, pose as much a danger to our liberties as the most rabid leftist… but only if they have the power of the government under their control.  I realize that this is not an original idea, but it seems to me that those lefties who spout about the right to do this or that (smoke pot, get an abortion, ride without a helmet, burn the flag, etc.) would be allied with the Tea Party in an effort to greatly reduce the size and power of the government, ESPECIALLY at the federal level.  Alas, however, for many people on all sides, it’s not about liberty: it’s about who is in control.

    • No bill shall be longer than 2000 words; I think that this is about four pages of standard type.

      Doc, I suggest that is a REALLY bad idea.  As things now stand, WAY too many bills are passed with utterly ambiguous language that invites regulators to fill in the details.  That is a TERRIBLE idea, and your suggestion would make it FAR worse.  If anything, bills need to be much more tightly drafted, leaving little to court or bureaucratic interpretation.  Of course, we would agree they also need to be MUCH less overweening, intrusive, and few and far between.

      For a about three decades, I have favored a requirement (even an amendment) that sun-sets all Federal law, and requires full passage if the thing is staying around.  That would MAKE legislators tighten up their awful drafting, and it would give them a chance to take tortured law back from the courts and the regulators.

      • Just as regulating banks leads to them finding even worse ways around the rules, lawyers would do the same. Interesting. I totally agree with the sunset idea. How many laws would just die out as no one even cared, too.

  • Uploading the text of proposed legislation for all to see would be great, particularly if it leads to fewer and fewer of those 2,500-page monstrosities.  If your proposed legislation requires that many pages, then I propose that you scrap it.

  • I expect that with possibly 1 or 2 exceptions, the GOP’s list will be exactly these kind of ok-sounding mushy little impact  generalities, why put something on there that allows the Dems a chance to shift the discussion away from how bad they are?

    Not that I agree with it, but they’re simply going to play it safe at this point

  • Actually, requiring a cited constitutional authority may make later court challenges easier.  Instead of the government being able to throw as many reasons why the bill might be constitutional, the court would have one, cited, single justification to deal with.  This peg doesn’t fit in that hole?  Struck down.

  • I don’t know, but why is it that the only people with balls in the Republican Party are women. God, I’m sick of these phuckin lawyer/politicians and their meaningless posturing.

    I’m voting for the people with balls this time around.
     

  • How about a bill that limits the size of a bill to say 100 pages.  Anything that exceeds that has to be brought up as a separate bill.  A bill that limits amendments to the bill topic would be nice too.

  • Did you actually just use ‘savvy’ and ‘GOP’ in the same sentence?

  • The citing the part of the Constitution requirement actually can be a big step forward if the Supreme Court judges the constitutionality of bills primarily on Congress’ justification, rather than the million things administration lawyers try to throw at the wall when these things actually go before SCOTUS.
    If Congress justifies a bill based on the commerce clause, but it doesn’t fly with the courts, maybe they won’t allow administration lawyers to claim that the bill is justified under the necessary and proper clause.

  • One of the GOP proposals would require bills to have a specific citation of constitutional authority, on the heels of criticism that Democrats breached their constitutional limits in Congress with big-ticket bills like health care reform. If a member questioned whether the House had constitutional authority to pass a bill, that challenge would receive debate and a vote.

    BFD.
    Arizona’s retiring US Rep John Shaddegg has been proposing that every year for his entire 16 year run and it never got more than 50-60 supporters, even from the Repubs.
    Of course, they’ll all just claim it’s under the “General Welfare” or “Commerce Clause”.
    WE ARE SO SCREWED!!

  • SORRY THREADJACK HERE.

    I just got the news that Murkowski is going to run as an independent in Alaska.  How many traitor turncoat Rino’s does that make now in this election cycle?

    This is just a good illustration of why you cannot trust those sacks of crap. They were never in it for any reason but self aggrandizement. 

    Spector runs as a Dem, Crist runs as an independent, Castle, who is too old to try and run again, pouts and refuses to endorse the candidate he lost too after a horrible smear campaign against her.
    Now Murkowski, and I am probably leaving some of them out.

    I feel like coach Singeltary, Damn Rino’s Can’t play with em, can’t win with em, can’t do it.

  • Came across this at Drudge this morning …
    O’Donnell hits the ‘ruling class’ in speech…
    I wonder how Democrats will respond to class warfare ?

  • “The second major initiative would encourage — though not require — members of Congress to read bills before they vote.”

    Pehaps some of those legislative geniuses could read Senate Rule XIV.

    “ Paragraph 3 states no bill or joint resolution shall be committed or amended until it has been read twice. After reading, it may be referred to a committee. Bills and joint resolutions introduced on leave, and bills and joint resolutions from the House of Representatives, shall be read once or twice if not objected to on the same day for reference, but shall not be considered on that day nor debated, except for reference, unless by unanimous consent.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_Rules_of_the_United_States_Senate,_Rule_XIV

    If those yahoos were actually serious about this, they could do as Patrick Moynihan did and refuse to permit unanimous consent to waiving the reading of the bills.

    I have found that it is always useful to read the existing rules before creating new ones. It is amazing how many problems are ‘solved’ multiple times.

michael kors outlet michael kors handbags outlet michael kors factory outlet