by JOHN CASHON
We have endured a civil war, multiple depressions and recessions, dreadful Supreme Court decisions, regional and world wars, a cold war, and divisive partisan rhetoric, but now it seems to some, due to our current political and economic hardships, that our government needs to return to an interpretation of the Constitution that was argued over one hundred years ago.
Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced legislation to enforce constitutional limitations on congressional power called the ‘Enumerated Powers Act of 2013‘.
“Many of our nation’s fiscal woes can be linked to Congress’s ignorance of, and refusal to follow, the clear Constitutional limitations on our power to legislate,” Senator Coburn said in a press release. “Our founders recognized the need for the federal government’s powers to be strictly limited – not only to ensure effective governance but to prevent unrestrained federal overreach. Limiting government is important because it liberates people and expands freedom and opportunity.”
“Today,” Coburn continued, “Americans have more government but less liberty, less economic mobility, and less disposable income. I am hopeful this legislation will correct this trend by reconnecting Congress with the enumerated powers outlined in the Constitution and codifying Congressional accountability to the Constitution.”
In the same press release, Senator Rand Paul stated, “When I ran for the Senate, one of my promises was to fight to pass an Enumerated Powers Act. Politicians in Washington should abide by their oath to uphold the Constitution by only legislating within the powers it gives to the federal government. I am proud to be the lead co-sponsor of Sen. Coburn’s bill to make this a reality.”
According to Senator Tom Coburn’s press release, the Enumerated Powers Act of 2013 does the following:
- Requires each Act of Congress, bill, resolution, conference report and amendment to “contain a concise explanation of the specific authority in the Constitution” that is the basis for its enactment.
- States any legislation that abolishes a Federal activity, spending or overall power may cite the 9th or 10th Amendments to the Constitution.
- Prohibits the use of the Commerce Clause, except for “the regulation of the buying and selling of goods or services, or the transporting for those purposes, across boundaries with foreign nations, across State lines, or with Indian tribes…”
- Allows a point of order to be raised in either House of Congress for bills that fail to cite constitutional authority.
- Cites the constitutional authority to enact the Enumerated Powers Act, which falls under Article I, Section 5, Clause 2 of the Constitution, allowing each House to determine the rules of its proceedings.
If this law was in effect in the past, this constitutional limitation would have hindered Congress’s power to create the ‘Child Labor laws’, among many other laws passed to protect the American worker in the early twentieth century, including a nationwide minimum wage, a national ban on workplace discrimination, a national labor law and an overtime in most industries. [MORE]