Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why Doesn't Rep. Chris Lee Support HR 450?

Recently, Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) announced he was not running for re-election in November. A solidly free-market and limited government conservative, he will be a great loss to Congress and to the country.

As you may recall, it was Rep. Shadegg who introduced HR 450 (The Enumerated Powers Act) which would require Congress to specify the source of Constitutional authority for any laws enacted by Congress--an honest and straightforward patriotic attempt to keep Congressmen true to their pledge to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.(For more details, please refer to my HR 450 post dtd April 11, 2009.)

Specifically, HR 450 stipulates that "each Act of Congress shall contain a concise and definite statement (subject to review by the Supreme Court) of the constitutional authority relied upon for the enactment of each portion of that Act," and that "the failure to comply with this section shall give rise to a point of order in either House of Congress." For many of us, this is pure, unadulterated American poetry! At long last, a fundamentally transformational bill which could finally stem the tide of brazen congressional overrreach.

Stoutly co-sponsored by 59 patriots in Congress and 22 patriots in the Senate (S 1319)--all Republicans, of course--HR 450, not surprisingly, has now been languishing in the dustbin of liberal dominated subcommittees since its introduction in January 2009.

Disconcerting, however, is the prominent absence in this stellar lineup of patriots of our own Rep. Chris Lee(R-NY26). And I have to wonder why.

What is he waiting for? An engraved invitation from his Republican compatriots? What is it about HR 450 which he finds so objectionable or, perhaps, irrelevant or unworthy of his momentary attention? Or is it simply a matter of benign neglect or just being so overwhelmed with so many, shall we say, more important matters? Well, frankly,I can't think of anything more important for a Congressman in these acutely precarious times than to defend the Constitution which shaped America's greatnesss and exceptionalism but whose despicable neglect of late by Congress has been inexorably destroying the Republic.

To my way of thinking, Mr. Lee's co-sponsorship of this fundamentally transformational bill would lay to rest any doubts among his constituents about his commitment to limited and efficient government. For what better, simpler, more straightforward way for a Congressperson to help achieve this meaningful goal than to extend his or her co-sponsorship of HR 450?

So while I genuinely believe Mr. Lee intends to be a different type of politician, one more committed to "we the people" than to self-serving me-first party politics as usual, and that he is determined to do his part to return this country to its once inviolable free enterprise and Constitutional roots, his apparent reluctance to co-sponsor this enormously important bill justifiably gives me serious pause.

In truth, it has been acutely disappointing that, to date, and despite several communications to him on his website, Mr. Lee, for whatever reason, has failed to proudly add his name as a co-sponsor of HR 450.

For the moment, I will grant this busy legislator the benefit of the doubt, but November draws near and his constituents deserve an explanation.

A conservative Republican, I, like many of his other constituents, am an American first and foremost. And that is precisely what I want my Congressman to be as well.

At long last, let's get our legislative priorities straight. Bread-and-circuses, entitlement and cynical vote-getting legislation must now take a back seat to putting our house in constitutional order. Now is the time for our leaders to get our country back on solid Constitutional footing before it all comes crashing down around us. HR 450 is an opportunity none of our leaders in our once hallowed halls of Congress should squander. Much too much is at stake.