Friday, May 20, 2011

Leash being prepared for Congress

Leash being prepared for Congress

WASHINGTON – A nationwide effort to increase the ability of the states to put a leash on federal power has taken a step toward reality with the introduction of the Repeal Amendment into both Houses of Congress.

The proposed constitutional amendment would check the power of the federal government by permitting a vote by two-thirds of the states to override an act of Congress.

The amendment is co-sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo.; Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; James Risch, R-Idaho; and John Cornyn, R-Texas. It also has been introduced in the House by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, along with 13 co-sponsors including Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif.

"The sole purpose of the Repeal Amendment is to restore the balance of power in our system of government as provided in the original Constitution, reserving most of the power to the states and the people while still recognizing a federal role," Enzi and Bishop wrote in a May 12commentary of

Read the full story about how states are reacting to Washington's power plays, in "STATES OF REBELLION: How legislators and governors nationwide are openly challenging a rogue president."

They complain that states have become increasingly saddled with unfunded federal mandates that they struggle to pay.

"At present, the only way states can dispute a federal law or regulation is to challenge the law in federal court, or seek an amendment to the Constitution," Enzi and Bishop wrote. "A state repeal power provides another constitutional way to reverse abusive congressional acts and administrative regulations without relying on federal judges or permanently amending the Constitution's text."

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Thus far 13 state legislatures have backed calling an Article V convention to force Congress to consider the amendment, according to Executive Director Marianne Moran, who has been spearheading the national effort to pass the amendment.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's office declined to confirm whether he plans on supporting the amendment or bring it to the floor for a vote. Cantor expressed support for the measure late last year as the Repeal Amendment lobbying effort was getting off the ground.

Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Jamie Radtke, who was instrumental in getting Virginia House Speaker William Howell and other prominent Virginia Republicans to back the amendment, praised the turn of events in Washington.

"I'm thrilled about this because we worked hard on it at the grass-roots here in Virginia," Radtke said.

The amendment has not been without its opponents, who compare it with the 19th century effort at nullification, whereby states such as South Carolina attempted to nullify federal laws they felt infringed on their rights. Many historians regard the movement as one of the precursors to the Civil War.

"I also think the irony should be noted that the Republican Party's first president argued that the union must be preserved at all costs, and now it is Republican political leaders are arguing for ideas that can have the opposite effect," Penn State political science professor Robert Speel said. "I think the amendment merits further discussion, but as written, it is too broad. There will need to be exceptions made as to what laws and regulations can be repealed by two-thirds of state governments.

"Do we want state governments to have the power to repeal foreign policies, for instance?"

Radtke defends the proposed amendment saying the two-thirds threshold would be a difficult achievement.

"This is about restoring federalism and continuing to have a dialog about balancing power between the federal government and the states," Radtke said. "It is never a good idea to centralize too much power rather than place it in the hands of the governments that are closest to the people."

The move is the latest manifestation of a rebellion by states that has grown swiftly in recent months, and already has included pushbacks against Washington regarding health care, gun regulations, and biometric for identification. A handful of states, for example, already have laws on the books exempting guns made, sold and maintained inside their borders from federal licensing requirements.

And WND columnistHenry Lambrecently described how Texas was looking at a plan for the state to review international treaties and agreements, such as the those connected to the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization, and how they might impact state law.

Another key dispute right now is Obamacare. Most people know the GOP-led House of Representatives repealed it. And many also know 27 states are challenging Obamacare in court. But what few understand is that nearly a dozen states also have considered legislation to nullify it.

Other major arguments between states and the federal government right now include:

  • The labyrinthine federal gun regulations,

  • Gold and silver as legal tender,

  • Anchor babies, or "birthright citizenship,"

  • Invasive pat-downs and revealing imaging for airline passengers,

  • The use of federally owned land,

  • REAL ID,

  • and marijuana laws.

Read more:Leash being prepared for Congress

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