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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

EPA Attempting Unconstitutional Trifecta: Usurping The States, Congress, and Federal Courts

Update 3/27/2015 (8:03 AM): In response to a inquiry by the ARRA News Service editor concerning Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR-01) vote of NO on H. Con. Res. 27, Rep. Crawford explained his vote as follows: "The budget blueprints put forward today called for the passage of a balanced budget amendment for the first time since I was elected to Congress, but without any legal binding authority, this non-binding resolution can be ignored and no action has to be taken. Sadly, since being elected to Congress, we have voted once on permanent spending controls in the form of a balanced budget amendment that was required by law as a result of the Budget Control Act.

Until Congress accepts that non-binding budget resolutions are ineffective without a permanent law like a balanced budget amendment or spending limitation amendment, the budget process will only be an exercise in futility and our debt crisis will continue on its current path.
Today in Washington. D.C. - March 26, 2015
The House reconvened at 9 AM today.

The House today may take up the following bills today:
H.R. 2 to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate and strengthen Medicare access by improving physician payments and making other improvements, to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program, and for other purposes, and providing for proceedings during the period from March 27, 2015, through April 10, 2015."

Yesterday the House passed:
H. Con. Res. 27 (228-199) — "Establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2016 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2017 through 2025." All democrats voted against the resolution.
H.R. 1527 (Voice Vote) — "To accelerate the income tax benefits for charitable cash contributions for the relief of the families of New York Police Department Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, and for other purposes."

In a floor speech today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called on the full House to back H.R. 2, the bipartisan Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act:“First, let me thank Chairman Upton and Chairman Ryan, Mr. Pallone and Mr. Levin. And thank you also to Wendell Primus with Leader Pelosi, Charlene MacDonald with Mr. Hoyer, and of course, Charlotte Ivancic on my team. Thanks to their hard work, and the work of this House, we expect to end the so-called doc fix once and for all. As you know, we’ve patched this problem 17 times. I decided about a year ago we’d had enough of it.

“In its place, we will deliver for the American people the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades. This is good news for America’s seniors, who will benefit from a more stable and reliable system for seeing their doctor. It is good news for hardworking families, who will benefit from a stronger Medicare program to help care for their elderly parents. It is good news for the taxpayers, who – according to the CBO and a number of fiscal experts – will save money now and well into the future.

“And that means it is especially good news for our kids and grandkids. Because today is about a problem much bigger than any ‘doc fix’ or deadline. It’s about solving our spending problem – and it’s about strengthening and saving Medicare, which is at the heart of that problem. Normally, we’re here to admit that we’ve just ‘kicked the can down the road.’ Today, because of what we’re doing here, we will save money 20, 30, and 40 years down the road. Not only that, we are strengthening Medicare’s ability to fight fraud, waste, and abuse. And we are extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Community Health Centers as well.

“My colleagues, this is what we can accomplish when we focus on finding common ground. But we cannot be complacent. We know more serious entitlement reform is needed. It shouldn’t take another two decades to do it – and frankly, it can’t take that long. I urge every member of this House to join this effort, and to start by casting a vote for H.R. 2.”

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed consideration of S. Con. Res. 11, the budget resolution passed by the Senate Budget Committee.

At noon, all debate time on the budget resolution expired. The Senate then began its “vote-a-rama” on budget amendments. Senators will vote on amendments back to back late into the evening, until the Senate is ready to pass the budget resolution.

Currently, there are more than 95 amendments pending to the budget and over 600 have been filed.

Yesterday, the Senate voted on 7 amendments, adopting 3 and rejecting 4. Among those approved was an amendment offered by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) that would allow for legislation preventing the United Nations or other international institutions from taking unfair or discriminatory action against Israel. The amendment passed 99-0.

This afternoon, as the Senate works its way through its famous budget amendment “vote-a-rama,” among the amendments senators will be voting on is one offered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to prevent the federal government from attempting to punish states that refuse to go along with the EPA’s regulations aimed at crippling coal-fired power plants.

The Obama administration has threatened that states could lose their federal highway funding or other “sanctions” if they don’t go along with the EPA’s legally shaky ruling.

As Leader McConnell wrote in a letter to all 50 governors warning about the dangers of following the EPA’s regulations, “Some have recently suggested that failing to comply with the EPA’s requirements would be to disregard the law. But the fact is, it is the EPA that is failing to comply with the law here. By requiring states to submit a plan aimed at achieving a lower emissions target . . . the EPA is overreaching . . . . In other words, the EPA is attempting to compel states to do more themselves than what the agency would be authorized to do on its own, as many states have noted in their comments in response to the rule. This point has been repeatedly stressed by noted Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, an otherwise strong supporter of President Obama who taught the first course in environmental law in the United States. As Professor Tribe has noted, the Clean Air Act not only fails to authorize the EPA’s plan, it forbids it. Professor Tribe recently called the EPA’s plan ‘constitutionally reckless’, saying it ‘usurp[s] the prerogatives of the States, Congress and the Federal Courts — all at once.’”

In an article last week, Politico noted Professor Tribe’s arguments against the EPA’s actions.“ ‘You know, I’ve cared about the environment ever since I was a kid. And you know, I taught the first environmental course in this country, and I’ve won major victories for environmental causes. But I’m committed to doing it within the law,’ Tribe said. ‘Burning the Constitution should not become part of our national energy policy,’ he added. . . .

“Tribe argued that the proposed rule would give allow the federal government to overtake control of energy regulations, which would violate the Tenth Amendment provisions that say the federal government only has powers conferred to it by the states or the people via the Constitution. The EPA can’t give states a ‘Hobson’s choice’ by forcing them to adopt unpopular policies or face unpopular federal control, he said. . . . Tribe . . . also argued that the proposed rule could violate the Fifth Amendment’s ‘takings’ clause, by unfairly saddling coal-fired power plants with the costs.

“The Harvard professor would not be limited there: he also argued that EPA’s view of the Clean Air Act ‘raises grave constitutional questions under Article I, Article III, and The Separation Of Powers.’ If EPA is allowed to choose its interpretation of whether it may regulate power plants . . . the agency would essentially be making laws itself, according to Tribe. ‘EPA is attempting an unconstitutional trifecta: usurping the prerogatives of the States, Congress and the Federal Courts all at once,’ he said.”

Earlier this month, in an op-ed for the Lexington Herald-Leader, McConnell explained how this ill-considered regulation will hurt families. “Just consider how extreme this regulation is. According to a respected group of economists, the regulation could cost our country about a third of a trillion dollars in compliance costs and cause electricity price hikes in nearly every state.

“And who gets hit hardest when energy bills go up? Lower-income families. Seniors on Social Security and a fixed budget. Those who struggle just to get by. These are the people the administration has chosen to attack.

“In Kentucky, the regulation would likely shrink our economy by almost $2 billion and throw countless out of work. The commonwealth's coal industry alone has already shed thousands of coal jobs during this administration's tenure. And now, many more of the thousands of Kentuckians whose jobs are tied to coal — including many proud miners who just want to give their children a better life — are likely to lose their jobs, too.

“In short, this regulation threatens to hurt a lot of people without doing much for the global environment.”

With the McConnell amendment today, Democrats in the Senate will have a chance to go on record opposing this unconstitutional rule and supporting states who decide to protect their citizens from the EPA’s costly mandates. Will they stand up for families and workers or for the heavy-handed and constitutionally reckless bureaucrats of President Obama’s EPA?

Tags: EPA, unconstitutional actions, usurping, states, Congress, Federal courts, U.S. Budget To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 12:05 PM - Post Link


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