Constitutional Legislation?

For the last several months, I have receiving emails from the office of Representative J. Randy Forbes (VA-4).  Although I don’t recall ever signing up on one of his lists, I have appreciated the opportunity to learn more about Congressman Forbes, his priorities, and his legislation.  I must say, the more I read the more I like.

He is currently cosponsoring H.R. 450, commonly known as the Enumerated Powers Act.  In short, this legislation would require Congress to demonstrate its specific Constitutional authority to enact new laws.  Along with Forbes, 62 other Representatives are either sponsoring or cosponsoring this bill including several from Virginia:  Cantor (VA-7), Goodlatte (VA-6), and Wittman (VA-1), and many conservative/liberty minded folks: Broun (GA-10), Garrett (NJ-5), and Paul (TX-14) to name just a few.

Here is Representative Forbes to explain a bit about the resolution:

The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Increasingly over the past year, many of you have written to me to express your concern for what many view to be the expanding and abusive authority exercised by the federal government. For too long, the federal government has operated without constitutional restraint. In doing so, it has created or proposed ineffective and costly programs, large burdensome healthcare mandates, massive deficits year after year, and a staggering national debt.

I’ve recently signed onto legislation called the Enumerated Powers Act, H.R. 450. The legislation mandates that all bills introduced in the U.S. Congress include a statement setting forth the specific constitutional authority under which that law would be enacted. This measure is intended to force a continual re-examination of the role of the national government and to begin to focus legislators on thoughtfully addressing the expanding reach of the federal government.

Our Founding Fathers believed that granting narrow and specific legislative power to the national government would be a powerful mechanism to protect individual freedoms. I believe H.R. 450 would take a first step in encouraging Congress to abide by the principles embodied in the Constitution.

I’d like to hear what you think of this legislation. Please e-mail me your thoughts. If you would like more information on my work on this issue or others, you may visit my Web site at forbes.house.gov.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours in service,

Randy Forbes

Member of Congress

What a novel concept huh?  Legislating according to the Constitution.  Unfortunately, I doubt the Democrats would allow such a law to pass, as it would hinder so much of their grand schemes like nationalized health care.  Hopefully once the Republicans regain control of Congress they will not forget the 10th Amendment and will advocate a return to a constitutional, limited government.  Therefore, I strongly encourage you to write to your Representative and Senators to insist they pass a law like H.R. 450.  Yes, we must enact drastic cuts in the size and scope of the federal government, but we must also curb its future growth.  H.R. 450 is an important step in the right direction.

One Reply to “Constitutional Legislation?”

  1. While I’m certainly no great believer in “States’ Rights,” which is too often a cover term for pulling apart the Federation on flimsy pretexts, I have to say that the idea of placing this kind of direct limitation on Federal authority would be a very good idea. Overcentralization at any level can be an extremely destructive force, and ensuring that the government is obeying its own organic law would be a step towards a more transparent and subsidiary form of government for the Republic. I support it.

    –M

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