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TGIF – August 25, 2017.

August 25, 2017

The great Congressional whine.

When you are considering the 2018 congressional races, perhaps the first thing you should ask the candidates is whether they have (a) read the Constitution and (b) if they understand it.

This particular do-nothing Congress seemingly has plenty of time to look for ways to impeach President Trump, have him declared mentally incompetent, or just Twitter away their time on other trivial pursuits, but apparently no time or inclination to do its job.

According to Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution, it is the job of CONGRESS to originate and write the text of legislation. Section 7 and 8 delineates where specific types of legislation shall originate, and nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the President should write legislation and hand it over to Congress for a rubber stamp.

Over the past 20 years or more, Congress has increasingly abdicated its responsibility by expecting the Executive branch to write the legislation and then Congress will perform the clerical duties necessary to make it sound like a bill.

That makes 538 people on the Hill the highest paid administrative assistants in the world.

Even people who detested the Obama presidency understood why he increasingly used executive orders to move his agenda along. In this all partisan all the time  world, it has become the only way to get anything done.

Unfortunately, it is also the least permanent way, since an executive order can be revoked or changed at the whim of whomever wins the presidency every four years.

President Trump (as did Obama before him) has repeatedly offered outlines of what he wants specific legislation to accomplish. That is as far as he should go, if you interpret the Constitution as limiting the executive powers.

On healthcare he said  “Repeal and replace”  On taxes, he has offered specifics as to how many tax brackets he wants, what deductions he thinks can be eliminated or tweaked, what the tax bracket percentages should be, and the income levels he would virtually exempt from paying taxes at all. Short of actually writing the bills, how much more specific can he be?

Constitutionally, that should be all the guidance he needs to provide. If the leaders in Congress don’t understand something, they can certainly pick up the phone and ask for a meeting to clarify this or that point.

Instead you constantly hear various members of Congress whining that the President needs to “offer legislation that they can vote on.”

In other words, they want him to govern by royal decree? Imagine how well that would go over with the public.

There is a constant outcry for President Trump to stump for this or that legislation. The problem is, there is no legislation.

Perhaps if you want a job in Congress, you should be able and willing to fulfill the job description first.

From → op-ed

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