The Right Opinion

Checklist for Congress

By Edwin J. Feulner · Nov. 18, 2010

The people have spoken.

On Election Day, they cried out against Washington’s reckless spending, stifling regulations, rising taxes, soaring debt and looming takeover of health care.

For too long, Washington elites have assumed they knew best – that government was the all-purpose solution to every problem, real or perceived.

But the American people have collective wisdom, expressed forcefully at the ballot box. Repudiating the “change” that denied our character and tradition, they demanded Congress take a new direction. They called instead for an American Renewal that taps our values.

That message was heard around the world. Friend and foe alike now realize that Americans remain a strong and free people, unbowed by adversity and unwilling to exchange their birthright of liberty for a perpetual stew of bureaucratic rule and government dependency.

But let’s be clear. Congress must now get to work. Our lawmakers have a choice: answer the call of renewal or betray the hopes of the American people.

To meet this mandate from the American people, Congress should take five simple actions. These five priorities represent the bare minimum of what is expected. More needs to be done to get our nation back on the right track, but these actions are a good start:

• FREEZE AND CUT SPENDING: Congress should immediately freeze discretionary budget authority at 2010 levels; and cut at least $170 billion from the federal budget for fiscal year 2012. This is only a first step. In the past four years, Congress has approved more spending than even the bureaucrats can handle. Congress must immediately survey the un-obligated balances of all appropriations made in the past four years and should reclaim these unspent taxpayer funds and use them to reduce the deficit.

• REPEAL OBAMACARE: Congress must immediately repeal Obamacare. Until Congress can get the president to sign a law to do so, it must withhold funding, block key provisions and override regulations carrying out Obamacare. Only after this misguided “reform” is rejected, can Congress undertake a careful, thoughtful legislative process to make practical adjustments that allow the free market to provide affordable, effective health care insurance choices.

• STOP THE OBAMA TAX HIKES: Congress must reject the tax hikes that will occur when the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 expire at the end of next month. That means making the cuts permanent, thereby helping the economy grow and create more jobs.

• PROTECT AMERICA: Congress must pass a budget resolution that won’t put our troops at risk or leave Americans vulnerable. It can do this by providing for defense an average of $720 billion per year for each of the next five fiscal years, in addition to the funding needed for ongoing contingency operations. Congress must make the defense budget as efficient as possible and reinvest dollars achieved from reforms in the military to offset the cost of modernizing and developing next-generation equipment.

• GET CONTROL OF GOVERNMENT: Congress must immediately reestablish legislative accountability by posting complete legislation, ending earmarks, reviewing all unauthorized programs and respecting constitutional limits on government. Congress must check executive branch overreach with aggressive oversight, roll back recent government interventions, stop unnecessary administrative regulations and sunset new ones, restrict bureaucrats' rulemaking authority and override executive orders.

By doing these things, Washington can fulfill its electoral mandate and meet its constitutional responsibilities. And our elected representatives can prove that they’ve truly heard the American people.


wjm in Colorado said:

I would add that congress should de-fund the extra-government Czars appointed by Obama, and get them out of official government business. they have no business conducting the peoples busines with no oversight!

Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Eric Blevins said:

Since we are talkiing about defunding, let's have some of our freshmen tea party memebers look over the entire budget see how much more defunding could be done. I wonder how much our current deficit could be eliminated if this were actually made into law.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 1:02 PM

John Brewster said:

The list of "Five Simple Actions" pretty well covers what Congress needs to do but they beg two questions: "Will they have the guts to do it?" and "Will they do it before it is too late?" My guess is that it is a " Flip of the Coin" as to both questions.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Robert Swinford said:

I would suggest the necessary action to remove the unqualified, undocumented, interloper who has been illegally occupying the White House.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Robert, USN, Ret. said:

Somewhere in my "draggin'up" I heard the expression, 'The President propose, Congress disposes." If this be so, and it should be, these "czars" (how that term infuriates) are absolutely a Presidential assault on Congressional responsibility. BHO has created a personal "congress" outside the purview of the public. He has circumvented the US Congress. And the Constitution. I would add a task to this list, but it may be resolved in the "executive branch over reach" suggestion. A citizen who wishes to fly a National airline is exposed, totally by diktat of the Government. Application for military service, driver license, and multiple other events, requires a positive identificatin. eg; Birth certificate for driver license. Should it not be so to become President of the United States? The smothering of that information, which O'Reilly dismisses as, "I asked him and he showed me a copy--" suggests that there is, indeed, a matter that BHO does not wish disclosed. Aside from the obvious--- the man is in way over his competency depth--- there is a very real probability he is not eligible to be in those waters.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 1:44 PM

Walker The Scot said:

Congress cannot be trusted to reign in spending. Therefore, as a first priority, Congress needs to pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that can be sent to the states for prompt ratification. Once a balanced budget is required, let the fun begin as various interests fight over the country's revenue. BTW, defense spending should not be protected. We need to pull all of our forces out of all countries around the world, halt all foreign aid, and mind our own business. Let the other nations feed and protect themselves.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 1:58 PM

PH in DE said:

Congress should also stop their automatic pay increases and give themselves a pay cut. They need to make MAJOR changes to their diamond-and-platinum pension plan, where they get 100% of pay after one term. Nowhere else can anyone get more than perhaps 50% to 75% of pay, at age 65, and then only after decades of employment. Congress and the President are supposedly public SERVANTS, so why are they living high on the hog at our expense. Oh, severely cut the Administraion's expense account. Obama has spent about the next 100 years worth.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 2:13 PM

Ken Hathaway said:

I must agree with Robert and William above that the funding for the "czars" illegally operating around congressional lines and spending billions without any oversight must be stopped and defunded.The Obama administration is deplorably on "rocks and shoals" already and these leaks on taxpayer funds must be plugged to set the ship of state right.Let these czars hunt a job like the rest of us.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Caseace said:

Its not the pay that the czars receive, its the damage they do without repercussion in a complete end around to the authority GIVEN TO THE PEOPLE by our Constitution.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 2:59 PM

karl anglin said:

Politics is the art of lookingfor trouble, finding it everywhere,diagnosing it incorrectly andapplying the wrong remedies.---Groucho Marx (1895-1977)

Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Henry Stock said:

You are talking about freezing spending at 2010 levels and then cutting 170 billion. What is the difference between this and the Republican pledge to cut spending levels to 2008 levels?In either case I think this measures are too timid. I would take my guidance from that action of Congress and the Harding Administration in the 1920's where they cut the federal government by as much as 50%. Of course this would have to be done in steps, but that should be the goal.I would take as my guide for what to cut from the Constitution. Anything that cannot be justified by a narrow and strict reading of the Constitution should be targeted for cutting. Those functions should be offered first to the States and dropped entirely if the States did not want them.One of the other comments mentioned the White House czars. I don't see why they can't restrict the White House or the administration budget to specifically eliminate funding for those czars. They meet my criteria of not being constitutional therefore they should be eliminated.When it comes to taxes, I believe that taxes should fall uniformly on all persons in this country, e.g. we need a broader tax base. I believe there is no justification for Income Redistribution. Taxing the so called rich disproportionately is immoral on its face. Consider the following argument:None of us, as individuals, has the right to take the assets of another for any purpose including the transfer to those assets to a third party. If we then acknowledge the moral authority of the Declaration of Independence when it said, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their CREATOR, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,” Then, we must understand that as none of us has the authority to take another’s property from him, so also we cannot give this power to any government , because we cannot give that which we do not have. The only just power that the government has is one that distribute the responsibility for paying for the government among all persons, in a uniform and non-arbitrary fashion.If taxes were imposed uniformly on all persons and the government cut its spending to constitutionally justified levels, the tax rates required would be far lower than they are today. Economist Arthur Laffer proposed a flax tax of 11% on all individuals and 11% on companies. He calculates that this combination would provide the income to cover current levels of spending. So, if we cut spending by 50% we could conceivably get by with a tax rate of 5.5% on individuals and companies.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 9:48 PM

Roger McBee said:

" Anything that cannot be justified by a narrow and strict reading of the Constitution should be targeted for cutting. Those functions should be offered first to the States and dropped entirely if the States did not want them." Well said, Henry Stock. I'm with you on this one.

Friday, November 19, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Russ Jones said:

Given the history of our representatives I think the only real method to return and maintain spending to constitutionally permitted levels would be an amendment to our beloved Constitution requiring same. Every bill should be reviewed to determine if it is constitutional and if not rejected. BTW this includes the salaries and benefits of all members of congress.

Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 7:40 AM