Rep. Bill Flores on Reclaiming Constitutional Authority

The Constitution clearly states that Congress is in charge of writing our laws and that the president is in charge of enforcing them. Unfortunately, however, since January 2009, Americans have seen our executive branch of government continually overstep its constitutional authority.

Economic opportunities and freedom for hardworking American families have been dramatically diminished by unelected, unaccountable, out-of-control Washington bureaucrats.  These bureaucrats are abusing their power to put politics and ideology above the law, which threatens the freedoms and liberties of all Americans.

Over the past few years, as this unconstitutional “fourth branch” of government has arisen, it has attempted to seize all of the powers reserved to the Congress and the Courts. This has created a situation where these bureaucrats write new laws, enforce those laws, and serve as judge and jury to mete out punishments for persons and businesses that cannot keep up with the onslaught of new regulations.

President Obama’s administration has utilized these powers to punish persons and industries that do not fit his liberal ideology. For example, the IRS inappropriately targeted and intimidated conservative groups; and the EPA launched an avalanche of new regulations to crush the U.S. coal industry.  In addition, his administration has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars by engaging in crony capitalism for the benefit of his supporters like Solyndra. On numerous occasions, the president has ignored laws that he does not agree with and rewritten others to accommodate his political agenda. Everyone has been hurt by his vision of a Washington based “command and control” economy – family paychecks have been flat, family farms are getting crushed by regulations, community banks cannot lend to their local businesses like they used to, and health care insurance costs have skyrocketed.

When we zoom out to look at the broader American economy, we find that overreaching federal regulations are being put in place without taking into consideration the negative impact that they have on our economy and hardworking American families. This outright abuse of power must be stopped.  We cannot allow any administration to ignore the Article I powers set forth in our Constitution.  The evidence of the Obama administration’s unconstitutional overreach is supported by the numerous defeats his efforts have experienced in the courts over the past couple of years.

Congress has a duty to restore the confidence of Americans in their government.  In this regard, House Republicans are committed to ensuring that the executive branch be held accountable to follow the law and to adhere to the Constitution.  In order to do this, we created our “A Better Way” agenda a few months ago.  This agenda includes a bold plan to reclaim Congress’s constitutional authority. Congress is the body closest to the people. We are their voice, their power, in representative government. That’s why, under the Constitution, Congress has the sole responsibility to write our country’s laws. We can reclaim that authority by writing much tighter statutes that leave little discretion for bureaucrats to reinterpret laws. We can halt executive overreach by subjecting agencies and bureaucrats to more aggressive congressional oversight. We also need to be more aggressive in using Congress’s Article I power of the purse limit government spending and stop inappropriate regulatory activities.

Since the rollout of our “A Better Way” agenda, the House passed several bills to restore constitutional authority, protect hardworking Americans against unnecessary government harassment, and rein in unelected, out-of-control federal bureaucrats. We will continue to provide deliverables from this agenda, including limiting executive discretion, using the appropriations process to keep regulators in check, and strengthening congressional oversight.

Hardworking American families can count on us to continue working to rein in the out-of-control executive branch and reclaim the principles developed by our Founding Fathers. We owe it to our Founding Fathers and all Americans to restore confidence in our constitutional system of governance and preserve the separation of powers to protect our constitutional liberties.