The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns representation of the people. The main flash point for the Revolutionary War was the fact that Great Britain was taxing the colonists without any American representation in Parliament. Most Americans are familiar with the cry of the colonists, “No taxation without representation!”
Over the more than 240 years since that cry was first heard, Americans have slowly lost the right to be represented. However, this time it has to do with the thousands or even millions of regulations that are imposed by unelected bureaucrats. It seems that Congress has slowly over time relinquished their responsibility to legislate to bureaucracies. At the present time, Congress passes a skeleton-like law and leaves it to the agencies to flesh out the law by writing regulations. That practice may be ending and hopefully soon.
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) introduced a bill on June 12, 2019, that would remedy the situation. While later speaking at The Heritage Foundation Lee made the following statement: “If the Founders’ rallying cry was ‘No taxation without representation,’ ours must be, or must at least involve, ‘No regulation with representation.”
The new bill was introduced as the third part to a “conservative legislative program that seeks to reduce the size and impact of administrative agencies.” Lee calls these agencies “the headless fourth branch of the federal government.” The bill is titled the Take Care Act. In an article posted at The Daily Signal, Carmel Kookogey reports the following from Lee’s visit.
Lee told his Heritage audience that regulatory rules written and enforced by unelected administrators violate Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution, which declares that all laws must be passed through both chambers of Congress and be signed into law by the president.
The proposed Take Care Act, Lee said, would solve this problem by allowing the president to use his constitutional power to remove upper-level agency officers who aren’t “faithfully executing the law.”
Currently, Lee said, executive branch officials may be removed only for committing an act of misconduct such as “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office,” and are protected against being removed for political reasons. He argued that this change would make the bureaucracy accountable to the people again.
“The way to accomplish that goal, while not easy by any stretch of the imagination is itself straightforward,” Lee said. “We need only look to the structural design of the Constitution, and the form of the administrative state equivalent. This is so simple. It’s one of the simplest features of our Constitution, and it’s also the most important.”
I have a lot of respect for Senator Lee because I believe that he is a strict constitutionalist. He seems to have a strong desire for the United States to run as the Constitution outlines, and his new bill is one of the signs of this desire. He indicated at Heritage that Congress is abusing its legislative power by delegating its main responsibility to “unelected, unaccountable regulatory agencies.”
“Our constitutional obligation to write laws we have handed over to bureaucrats who are in no way chosen by the people, in no way accountable to the people. He admits that some people are concerned that his bill will give the President too much power, but he would “still rather have the president act as president.” He would rather have a President that he did not agree with “wield the executive power than an unknown technocrat.” Kookogey added the following statement to emphasize Lee’s message.
Lee went so far as to say that a more powerful executive is preferable to the so-called “expert” government administrator, and that’s why Congress should pass his legislation.
“The unknown, nameless, faceless bureaucrat, however well educated, well intentioned, hardworking, and highly specialized, would not have to answer to the American people, not ever,” Lee said.
Most reasonable people know that there are too many powerful bureaucrats in the federal government. Lee’s bill is one way to reduce their power and possibly decrease the size of the government. I hope that he can convince his fellow Senators to pass the bill!