The individual rights guaranteed by the 1st and 2nd Amendments of our Constitution are under attack. A dangerous new movement has emerged in American politics, one that seeks to upend the 225-year tradition that in America laws are made only with the consent of the governed. Many so-called progressives believe that when, sooner or later, they regain control of the White House they can erode and weaken the 1st Amendment rights like free speech and religious freedom as well as the 2nd Amendment’s guarantee of the right to bear arms, not by passing legislation, but, through regulations dictated by the President’s un-elected bureaucrats in Washington.In short these so-called progressives want a system where regulatory edicts issued by a President’s appointees can fundamentally change the meaning of a law in ways that were never intended by the Congress that passed that law. As each controversy over legislation or a political leader’s tweet in Washington distracts the media, legislators, and the public, one fundamental question stands out. What will be the PERMANENT legacy of this era of a Republican President and Republican majorities in Congress, and in 33 states’ legislatures? Will it be executive orders and laws that last only until the voters elect a liberal President and Congress as voters have done at least once a generation or so for the last 100 years.
1912, 1934, 1964 and 2008 all saw the election of Democratic super majorities that dramatically expanded the size and power of government. There is no reason to believe that this will not happen again, continuing the trend towards bigger and bigger government.
To reverse this trend, the legacy of our majorities and our control of the White House today must be something more permanent than executive orders and laws. To rein in the abuse of federal power, we need constitutional reform that will last for generations, not just for the term of one administration or of one Congressional majority.
Our challenge is to persuade the majorities we now have in Congress and the states to permanently and constitutionally strengthen checks and balances on the abuse of federal power.
Perhaps the most important lasting pro-limited government reform of the last 75 years was the 22nd Amendment for Presidential term limits, ratified in 1951. That Amendment was proposed by Congress in part because of pressure from the states who favored it. Now, just as pressure from the states helped force Congress to propose the Bill of Rights and presidential term limits, pressure from 2/3 of the states could force Congress to propose a popular Amendment as soon as 2019, without Convention. In fact three times in American history, pressure from the states has forced Congress to propose an Amendment states wanted. 12 of the 27 Amendments to our Constitution were proposed in this way. The 10 Amendments in the Bill of Rights, the 17th Amendment for direct election of Senators, and the 22nd Amendment limiting Presidents to two terms were all proposed by Congress because Congress realized that 2/3 of the states favored them, and Congress did not want the states even thinking about proposing the Amendment through a Convention. If states, working with allies in Congress could help force Congress to propose an Amendment, what kind of Amendment could it be?
Constitutional curbing the administrative state so future Presidents and their regulators could no longer dictate the rules that govern us would be a powerful permanent legacy. The good news is that than 1000 state legislators, 7 governors and former governors, including Mike Pence, a unanimous vote of the RNC, language in the 2016 Republican Platform, and Resolutions passed by 25 state legislative chambers have already urged Congress to propose the “Regulation Freedom Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution. The Regulation Freedom Amendment would require that major new federal regulations be approved by Congress before they can take effect. And Congress, not bureaucrats, would decide what is a “major” regulation.
Conservatives in Congress including Senator Ted Cruz, House Rules Chair Pete Sessions, House Natural Resources Chair Rob Bishop, and past Constitution Subcommittee Chair Trent Franks have endorsed the Regulation Freedom Amendment. Polls show 2-1 support for the Amendment from voters. Curbing the administrative state is an issue that could unite conservatives and libertarians of all kinds while appealing to swing voters in 2018.
Most so-called progressives do not want to answer a simple question: Should the rules that govern us be dictated by un-elected Washington bureaucrats or should they be approved by elected representatives of the people? But we can make progressives answer that question and reveal them for the “Undemocrats” they really are. In fact, we could even call pro-Washington Democrats who prefer bureaucracy to democracy the “UNDEMOCRATIC WING OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.”
The Madison Coalition, is helping to build a national network of grassroots, political, and business leaders to urge state legislators and Members of Congress to support the Regulation Freedom Amendment. Big change happens from the bottom up, not just the top down. Just one phone call or personal email to a legislator from each of hundreds and eventually thousands of people like those of you who are reading this article can make “ending regulation without representation” an issue that cannot be ignored.
Every voting U.S. House Republican along with some courageous Democrats voted for, and many Republican U.S. Senators pledge support for, a bill called the REINS Act, which would require that major new federal regulations that impose costs of more than 100 million dollars must be approved by Congress. But the REINS Act does not protect 2nd Amendment rights, free speech, or religious freedom from regulations with a cost of less than $100 million. Creative regulators could also evade it by proposing multiple “mini” or “micro” regulations, each with a small cost. And the REINS Act could be repealed by a future more liberal Congress or overturned by a liberal U.S. Supreme Court.The Regulation Freedom Amendment, on the other hand, allows one quarter of the U.S. House or Senate to designate any regulation as a “major” regulation which would then require a majority vote of both the House and Senate to take effect. First and Second Amendment rights would be fully protected, and a Constitutional Amendment could not be repealed by a future Congress or overturned by the Supreme Court. Most elected officials, and especially most Republicans, do not know of this Constitutional alternative to the REINS act that has been endorsed by the RNC, the GOP Platform, and 25 state legislative chambers. When they hear about it from the grassroots, they certainly become interested. But we need the help of people like those of you who are reading this article to spread the word about this unique opportunity to permanently curb the bureaucracy and preserve the regulatory reforms we are now seeing.
Our historic majorities are not permanent. If we don’t act soon we will miss our chance. But if we do, we can change the course of American history. If you would like to learn more, visit the Regulation Freedom Amendment website at www.regulationfreedom.org. Or you can email us at Leaders@RegulationFreedom.org. Or call us at 202-255-5000.
We hope to hear from you!