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The Heritage Foundation: Saving Congress from itself: Emancipating the States and Empowering their People

Published on Jan 23, 2015

“Saving Congress from Itself” proposes a single reform: eliminate all federal grants-in-aid to state and local governments. This action would reduce federal spending by over $600 billion a year and have a profound effect on how we govern ourselves. The proliferation of federal grants-in-aid programs is of recent vintage: only about 100 such grants existed before Lyndon Johnson took office, and now they number more than 1,100. Eliminating grants to the states will result in enormous savings in federal and state administrative costs; free states to set their own priorities; and improve the design and implementation of programs now subsidized by Washington by eliminating federal regulations that attend the grants.

 

Not Enough Doctors? Too Many? Why States, Not Washington, Must Solve the Problem

The states are far better equipped than the federal government to address increasingly complex and serious health care workforce issues.  But by enacting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Congress swells the costs and role of the federal government, while ignoring the critical role that states can — and should — play as a consequence of their existing oversight of key workforce areas, according to Roger E. Meyers, former dean and vice president of medical affairs at George Washington University.

The new health care law largely repeats the mistakes of the past: pursuing failed policies, while adding needlessly to federal spending, potentially deepening the budget deficit.  Congress is, once again, committing the states to unfunded and underfunded federal mandates.

Since 1981, projections of the health care workforce have been unreliable.  Continue reading from NCPA…

Senate Republican to Push States’ Rights in Response to Health Care Law

A Republican senator is planning on introducing legislation this week that would allow state officials to challenge federal regulations before they go into effect, says Julian Pecquet.

  • Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) says his states’-rights bill is in large part a reaction to Democrats’ health care reform law, which Republicans claim would create 159 “boards, commissions, bureaus, programs and offices of the federal government.”
  • That figure may be open to debate, but states have certainly raised concerns with the law, with 43 so far joining in legal challenges or taking other action to prevent certain provisions from taking effect.

The proposed law could also be used to challenge other regulations, such as those from the Environmental Protection Agency, Wicker added. Continue reading from NCPA…

Who’s Supreme? The Supremacy Clause Smackdown

When Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed HO391 into law on 17 March 2010, the “national” news media circled the wagons and began another assault on State sovereignty. The bill required the Idaho attorney general to sue the federal government over insurance mandates in the event national healthcare legislation passed. The lead AP reporter on the story, John Miller, quoted constitutional “scholar” David Freeman Engstrom of Stanford Law School as stating that the Idaho law would be irrelevant because of the “supremacy clause” of the United States Constitution.

Read more…

U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) Calls for Amendment Convention by States

Watch You Tube Video on U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert’s talk on the House Floor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqStgReNu8Y

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The Federal vs. the State Governments

In recent years, the federal government has grown at a rapid rate, intruding into many areas that formerly were the sole domain of the states (e.g., education, transportation, health care, energy policy, etc.). Significantly, the Founding Fathers took great care to place limitations around federal powers and to preserve state and local powers. As Thomas Jefferson clearly explained:

The capital and leading object of the Constitution was to leave with the states all authorities which respected their own citizens only, and to transfer to the United States those which respected citizens of foreign or other states….Can any good be effected by taking from the states the moral rule of their citizens and subordinating it to the general [federal] authority?…Such an intention was impossible and…[would] break up the foundations of the Union…. I believe the states can best govern our home concerns, and the general [federal] government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore…never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold as at market.

Given the Framers’ clear vision of a small and limited federal government, how did it become so large and all-encompassing? The first reason had been foreseen by Founding Father Samuel Adams (“The Father of the American Revolution”), who cautioned:

If the liberties of America are ever completely ruined…it will in all probability be the consequence of a mistaken notion of prudence which leads men to acquiesce in measures of the most destructive tendency for the sake of present ease.

The first step in losing control of the federal government was that it became easier and more convenient to “acquiesce” (i.e., give in) and let the federal government begin doing things never before permitted. The federal government then felt emboldened to enter additional areas – or to use a description provided by Thomas Jefferson, it began “working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped.”

This is the current situation, and citizens do not like it:

  • 64% of Americans believe that government is too big (6% believe it is too small, and only 25% believe that it is “the right size”), and only 35% believe that the government is operating in line with the U. S. Constitution.
  • When asked to identify the biggest threat to the future of the country, 55% identified big government, 32% big business, and 10% big labor.
  • 70% of Americans favor “smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes” rather than “a more active government with more services and higher taxes.”

Some leaders (including both candidates and elected officials) are now advocating state nullification as a constitutional solution – that a state has the right to declare a federal law unconstitutional, thereby nullifying that law. State nullification certainly sounds like a silver bullet – a proverbial wooden stake that can be driven through the heart of what many see as a growing federal monster.

But did the Founding Fathers – the Framers of our government – give states the constitutional power to nullify federal laws? Several elected officials have asked us that very question, and it is certainly one that is within our purview of research. After all, WallBuilders exists to “present Americans forgotten heroes and history, with an emphasis on our religious, moral, and constitut ional heritage.”

We just finished the historical analysis of state nullification and have returned the finished report to those elected officials. I must confess that not only was it an interesting project but I was also surprised by the results; frankly, I was amazed at how often state nullification appeared throughout the decades.

If you are interested in learning more about this piece of American history that directly relates to public policies currently being advocated, you can read or download the report. Enjoy!

God Bless!

David Barton, Wallbuilders

NULLIFICATION REVISITED

Read this article from the Tenth Amendment Center to better understand Nullification procedures.

Gov. Perry: States Must Stand Up to Unprecedented Federal Intrusion

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry today sent a letter asking other governors to join him in ongoing efforts to assert the constitutional rights of states as guaranteed under the 10th Amendment with regard to the federal health care bill being forced through by Congress.  He urged the governors to support and join efforts by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and several other state attorneys general to determine the constitutionality of a compromise in the pending federal health care legislation exempting the state of Nebraska from increased Medicaid costs resulting from the bill’s passage. Continue reading here.

Shuster: Tenth Amendment is a Bunch of Baloney

Source: Tenth Amendment Center