Congressional Republicans have wasted no time fighting back against Barack Obama’s plan to rule by executive fiat. Only days into their new majority in the 112th Congress, conservatives have introduced measures to end the most egregious offenses: abolishing the unelected system of czars, repealing Net Neutrality regulations, and preventing the EPA from imposing job-killing carbon dioxide standards on power plants. The imperative steps will prevent an imperial overreach and minimize the damage Obama can do the American people. However, if they hope to succeed, Republicans need to move beyond these necessary defense mechanisms and present a coherent and comprehensive program of limited, constitutional government.
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Nothing so perfectly encapsulates this president’s push to federalize every aspect of American life better than his team of czars. These multiple dozens of ideologues — unelected and unconfirmed, because they are unelectable and unconfirmable — exercise power in every aspect of our lives from the environment, to domestic violence, to the automobile company we collectively purchased for the UAW. On Wednesday, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-LA, introduced a bill co-sponsored by 28 others to abolish all federal czars. His proposal, which is supported by 28 other Congressmen, would eliminate anyone who is “a head of any task force, council, policy office within the Executive Office of the President, or similar office established by or at the direction of the President” that would normally require Congressional confirmation.
Many conservatives, including this author, believe ending the proliferation of federal fiefs is the most elementary step that can be taken to restore representative government. Thankfully, House Republicans are moving forward on other fronts, as well.
A narrowly divided Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the Clean Air Act gave the Environmental Protection Agency the power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions as a “pollutant.” The EPA issued its first such regulations last month during the lame duck session of Congress, as this author predicted. On Thursday, three Republicans introduced a trio of bills to stop this practice, which the authors of the Clean Air Act could not have envisioned. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-TN, would deny the agency the power to regulate CO2 emissions altogether. A bill introduced by Texas Republican Ted Poe would cut off any money to impose these EPA regulations. Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito authored a measure that would delay all federal rules about these emissions for two years, when a new leadership may be appointed by a new president. “Without congressional action to say otherwise, the EPA will continue to dismantle energy and manufacturing industries through regulation,” said Capito, who represents West Virginia.
Blackburn also introduced a bill to block the FCC’s Net Neutrality regulations, stating only Congress can regulate the technology. More than 60 of her fellow Congressmen currently back the “Internet Freedom Act.” Blackburn summed up her opposition to the FCC’s power grab, saying, “In these times, for an unelected bureaucracy with dubious jurisdiction and misplaced motives to unilaterally regulate [the internet] is intolerable.”
One upcoming leader, Rep. Paul Ryan, indicated defunding ObamaCare may be on the table. “Obviously, we plan on repealing it [Obamacare], and our budget should reflect the repeal of the health care law,” Ryan has said.