Editors Note: The following is a guest post by Seton Motley, Founder and President of Less Government
It is an empirical fact – a metaphysical certitude. Government overreaches.
And the Barack Obama Administration has the longest, most overactive arms ever. With many, many, MANY power-grabbing hands.
President Obama readies a sweeping list of executive actions.
And on, and on, and….
Glaringly absent in all of this power-grabbing – has been actual, tangible Congressional opposition to any of it. Which is yet another Constitutional problem.
The Founding Fathers created a limited, delimited federal government. It is only supposed to do what the Document expressly grants it the authority to do.
A fundamental component of this limiting is the balance of powers. The three Branches – Executive, Legislative and Judiciary – are supposed to respectively do what each is expressly told to do. And nothing else.
The Founders envisioned each Branch jealously, vociferously defending its turf – and thus its power. That inter-branch tension would serve as a check on them all.
That protection has been eroding for decades. The Legislative – Congress, the only elected representatives of We the People – has for at least a century been ceding more and more of its power.
To the Judiciary
The Senate has been way too lax in its Advise and Consent authority over the Executive’s appointments of judges and Justices. Far too often the President’s nominees are given a cursory glance – and thoughtless approval.
Those in robes have thus felt increasingly free to perversely find more and more emanations from penumbras in existing statute. They write law – Congress’ job – rather than merely interpret and enforce it.
In response to which Congress has done…nothing. The Senate also has the responsibility of impeaching rogue judges – they almost never do it.
To the Executive
As we noted above, the Obama Administration has been in unprecedentedly huge fashion over-using the overly huge regulatory apparatus. But this, too, precedes this President by decades.
The countless Executive Branch Departments, Commissions, Agencies and Boards are supposed to enforce existing law. They are instead incessantly going well beyond these bounds – writing new law with no Congressional tether.
President Obama placidly asserted that he would do this on steroids – unilaterally use his pen and his phone to write law to end-run the Congresses we elected to stop him.
Because he knew the Congresses we elected to stop him – wouldn’t.
Congressional Republicans have only paid lip service to opposition. They talk a big game – and then do nothing.
And Congressional Democrats?
Well that sort of defeats the purpose of being in Congress, does it not?
Well, there might be an Executive overreach so egregious, its implications so damaging – that Congress in bipartisan fashion might actually, finally do its Constitutional duty.
Republicans and some rural Democrats are sharpening their attacks against a forthcoming Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation that they say could vastly extend the agency’s reach over waterways and agriculture.
GOP lawmakers and Democrats from agriculture-heavy districts contend the Waters of the United States rule amounts to executive overreach….
In March, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed new rules that would expand the agency’s regulatory authority on streams and wetlands that feed into major rivers and lakes.
The EPA says 60 percent of the nation’s streams and wetlands are not protected from pollution.
That actually means 60% of the nation’s streams and wetlands are protected from government. The EPA won’t stand for that.
This is actually an instance where the Judiciary has done its duty in reining in the Executive. In fact, it’s done it twice.
(There have been) two U.S. Supreme Court decisions that limited what waterways the government can regulate and the proposed rule is meant to clarify which smaller ones they include.
Why would that stop the EPA? Clearly, it won’t. So Congress must.
Congress will play host Tuesday to three hearings that will touch on the rule, including one on Senate legislation that would require the EPA to submit a different regulation that follows certain principles and specifically includes some bodies of water, groundwater and soil water.
The federal government is out of control. One of the fundamental problems is the Branches are failing to stay in their respective lanes.
It is WAY past time for the respective Branches to get back in them. Or be forced therein.
Congress must reclaim its Constitutional lawmaking authority. Starting now.