When the 112th Congress convenes, the House of Representatives will do something that has likely never been done before. I’m not referring to a false showing of patriotism, that is done quite often in Congress. However, when the 112th Congress reads the Constitution on the floor of the House for, possibly, the first time in Congressional history it will not simply be a false showing of “patriotism”. The new House majority will hope to appease the “TEA parties” by reading aloud the document they swore to uphold. The Washington Post reports “The House historian’s office found no record of the Constitution ever having been read aloud on the chamber’s floor, although twice lawmakers have submitted the text into the Congressional Record. Roswell Flower (D-N.Y.) did so in 1882 and Thomas Reilly (D-Conn.) in 1915, according to House Historian Matthew Wasniewski.”
After decades of passing unconstitutional legislation and sending the military to fight in unconstitutional and undeclared wars, there was finally a call for Congress to finally obey the Constitution. There will also be a new rule in the House of Representatives that all bills must cite Constitutional authorization. This “rule” is simply smoke & mirrors. Congressional rules are waved or suspended on a regular basis I don’t think this rule will be any different. Kevin Gutzman, author & history professor at Western Connecticut State University, says, “This is the way the establishment handles grass-roots movements. They humor people who are not expert or not fully cognizant. And then once they’ve humored them and those people go away, it’s right back to business as usual. It looks like this will be business as usual – except for the half-hour or however long it takes to read the Constitution out loud.”
Gutzman is correct. If the Congress really wanted to show they were serious in following the Constitution and serious about having more “transparency” on bills they pass they would institute the Downsize DC Agenda, which is comprised of 4 bills. These bills if passed into law would require:
- all bills be read in full on the floor of each House Congress and posted online a full seven days before a vote can be taken on that legislation
- all legislation be given titles that describe what the bills would actually do, so that members of Congress and the public can know what the “one subject” of the bill actually is
- Congress write specific legislation, with no details left to the bureaucrats &
- all bills must specify where Article 1 Section 8 enumerates the power to Congress to authorize such act.
If Congress is sincere, however I doubt they are; they will pass the Downsize DC Agenda. Instead, the 112th Congress will more likely behave much like the Congresses of the past 100 years and not abide by their oath of office.