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Entries in Constitution (147)

Saturday
Sep222012

Frank's Footnotes Newsletter: Putting Washington's Paychecks on the Line 

Cutting Washington's Pay: Tying Paychecks to Performance on Sequestration

I wrote last week about the dangerous round of automatic Sequestration spending cuts scheduled to take effect in three months. It would be very harmful to both our military and to New Hampshire’s economy. Experts say the severe reductions would result in the smallest Army since 1940, the smallest Navy since 1916, and the smallest Air Force in our history. As if that wouldn’t be bad enough, the Center for Security Policy estimates nearly 4,000 jobs are on the line right here in New Hampshire. Nationally, over 1 million jobs are in jeopardy.

This week, I became a cosponsor of a bill to make sure officials in Washington would suffer if Sequestration happens as scheduled in its current form. I added my name to H.R. 6438, the Member Pay Reduction and Responsibility Act. Simply put, it says that if Congress and the Obama Administration fail to act by the end of this year, they won’t get paid as usual. The paychecks for the President, Vice President and all Senators and Representatives would be reduced equivalent to the Sequester’s percentage cut to non-exempt, non-defense discretionary spending (about 8.2%, as projected in OMB’s recent report).

Americans expect their government to responsibly address this important issue. It’s only right that they suffer the consequences if they don’t fulfill that obligation.

 
 
Principle Attraction: Two NH School Principals Visit Capitol Hill

I had the opportunity to meet with two of New Hampshire’s esteemed educators, Ellen Small, Principal of Iber Holmes Gove Middle School (IHGMS) in Raymond, and David Ryan, Principal of Nashua High School. Both were recently recognized for their dedication to educating Granite State students.

In 2011, Iber Holmes Gove Middle School was named New Hampshire’s Middle School of Excellence. This award given by the Excellence in Education Initiative, which acknowledges public schools that excel. Principal Small’s colleagues attribute the school’s success to her strong leadership and constant support of students and teachers. I’m proud of the hard work and dedication Ellen has invested in helping make IHGMS an award-winning school.

Principal Ryan was recently named a finalist for the 2013 MetLife/NASSP National High School Principal of the Year. This program recognizes both middle and high schools principals for creating exceptional learning opportunities. I appreciated the chance to speak with Principal Small and Principal Ryan and to discuss ways in which I could support their initiatives and New Hampshire’s public school system. Their work is so important to our school children and we appreciate all of the time and effort they put into their schools.

 
 
Keeping What Works: My Vote to Defend Welfare Work Requirements

You may have heard about the Obama Administration’s recent efforts to undermine a critical component of welfare. That is why I voted Thursday and helped pass H.J. Res. 118, Providing for Congressional Disapproval of the Administration’s July 12, 2012 Waiver of Welfare Work Requirements. This resolution expresses the House’s disapproval of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) memo undermining the bipartisan welfare reform law of 1996 and would prevent the Obama Administration from weakening the law’s federal work requirements.

We have seen the many benefits produced by strong work requirements. They help welfare recipients get back on their feet, that’s good for them, good for their community and good our nation. Which is why I want to preserve work requirements. I wish the Obama Administration would, too, because most Granite Staters share the desire to see people shift away from government dependency and into the workforce. As your Congressman, I’m using my vote in the House to defuse the threat of looming tax increases, to cut red tape while limiting the ability of bureaucrats to issue it, and by promoting an economy that is based on free enterprise.

 
 
Our Constitution: 225 Years of Liberty and Freedom

One of the world’s most amazing documents passed a remarkable milestone this week. Monday was the United States Constitution’s 225th anniversary. Few documents in world history have achieved this longevity. It becomes even more significant when you realize the very same document our Founding Fathers signed back in 1787 is still providing freedom and defending our rights as citizens to this very day. You’ll have a hard time finding other documents from that era that are still in effect today.

One of the very first things I did upon entering Congress back in January 2011 was to participate in the bipartisan reading aloud of the U.S. Constitution on the House Floor. (I had the honor of reading the Second Amendment, which guarantees your right to keep and bear arms.)

Our Constitution has been amended 27 times over the last 225 years. That is one of the secrets to its success and longevity: because we, the people, have the right to modify and change it as we see fit. Instead of being set in stone, our Constitution has the flexibility to address new needs and concerns while still maintaining and protecting our fundamental rights. As your Congressman, I am committed to making sure all legislation passed by the House, fall within the guidelines of the Constitution.

Friday
Sep212012

CEI - Three States Join Constitutional Challenge to Dodd-Frank

New Orderly Liquidation Authority Threatens Financial Companies and Investors, Putting State Pension Funds at Risk Without Due Process

 

Washington, D.C., September 20, 2012 – The states of Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Michigan today joined a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The states are asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to review the constitutionality of the Orderly Liquidation Authority, established under Title II of Dodd-Frank. The three states are joining the original plaintiffs in the lawsuit: State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas; the 60 Plus Association; and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

“We must challenge Dodd-Frank to protect Oklahoma taxpayers and our financial stability. The law puts at risk the pension contributions and tax dollars that the people have entrusted us to protect,” Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said. The Orderly Liquidation Authority (OLA) gives the Treasury Secretary the power to liquidate any financial company as along as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve are in agreement.

“The new regulations do not stabilize our economy, they create greater uncertainty. As a result, States cannot allow our taxpayers, our investments or the Constitution to be subject to such financial risk. Dodd Frank replaces the rule of law with the rule of politics,” Attorney General of South Carolina, Alan Wilson, said. The unbridled power given to the OLA to seize assets of private companies is simply unconstitutional. If a large financial institution fails, holding state pension contributions and tax dollars, the states have very little ability to recover their citizens’ assets.

"Michigan's public-employee pension funds hold substantial fixed-income investments in large financial institutions," said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.  "Dodd-Frank gives the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury essentially unlimited power - with no judicial or Congressional oversight - to pick winners and losers among creditors when these large financial institutions go bankrupt.  This lawsuit is necessary to safeguard Michigan's pension funds and protect current and future retirees."

Sam Kazman, General Counsel for one of the original plaintiffs, CEI, stated:  “Despite being called a reform measure, Dodd-Frank poses a massive threat to consumers, companies and the economy of this country.  The scope of that threat is clearly demonstrated by the decision of these three states to join our lawsuit, and we welcome their participation.”

The state attorneys general are challenging Title II of Dodd-Frank, which gives the Treasury Secretary the ability to liquidate financial companies with only 24 hours notice. There is no meaningful legal recourse for the company, there is an immediate gag order placed on all parties and it carries criminal penalties if violated; in short, this creates death panels for American companies. The private plaintiffs also are challenging the Financial Stability Oversight Council (Title I), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Title X), and the validity of the Bureau Director’s appointment.

The lawsuit was originally filed in June 21, 2012.

> View a copy of the complaint at CEI.org

> Information on the case and a copy of the filing can be found at http://cei.org/doddfrank.

Saturday
Jul282012

ALG's Daily Grind: Tying Obamacare in knots 

July 27, 2012

Tying Obamacare in knots

How to defund Obamacare.

Cartoon: Blame the paper

If guns cause murders, then…


Video: Financial giant Sandy Weill says 'Never mind' on superbanks

He once headed up Citigroup and worked to get laws in place to let banks, insurance companies and investment firms merge. Now he is changing his mind. It reminds us of a famed Saturday Night Live character.

Time for a Constitutional Moment

There are 23 cases left challenging another controversial mandate from Obamacare.

Wednesday
Jul252012

CEI - Net Neutrality Unconstitutional, Public Interest Groups Tell Appeals Court 

Washington D.C., July 24, 2012 — On July 23, TechFreedom and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, along with the Free State Foundation and the Cato Institute, filed a brief amici curiae (PDF) with the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit arguing that the FCC’s 2011 “Preserving the Open Internet” Order is unconstitutional. By denying providers their constitutional rights, the groups argue, the FCC’s rule forces consumers to bear the costs of building tomorrow’s networks, foreclosing novel business models in which content companies share part of that burden.

"The FCC’s net neutrality rule violates both the First and Fifth Amendments: It compels Internet providers to speak and deprives them of their property rights without just compensation," said Ryan Radia, Associate Director of the Center for Technology & Innovation at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “The problems the rule purports to solve are theoretical, but its impact on constitutional rights will be very real. Net neutrality regulation denies Internet providers their First Amendment right to choose what speech to allow on their networks, effectively compelling providers to convey all content companies’ messages—for free. Granting content companies nearly unfettered, free use of Internet providers’ private networks amounts to a permanent ‘virtual easement’."

The brief also rejects the FCC's claims of "ancillary" jurisdiction to regulate matters beyond what Congress has specifically assigned to the agency.

"We're asking the Court to rein in an agency that it's previously criticized for making sweeping claims of authority that would 'virtually free the Commission from its congressional tether,'" said Berin Szoka, President of TechFreedom. "There's no evidence to support the FCC's view that broadband and content providers are fundamentally at odds. But if broadband operators ever do abuse market power by blocking access to competitors, that's a problem existing antitrust laws can address. Those who think current antitrust mechanisms work too slowly should dust off the Digital Age Communications Act, a compromise proposal offered by The Progress & Freedom Foundation in 2005, allowing the FCC to issue rules on the basis of antitrust standards. But if the FCC can simply invent authority to regulate the Internet today, there is no limit to what it might do tomorrow."

The case is Verizon v. FCC (D.C. Cir. No. 11-1355) and this amicus brief is available here. John Elwood and Eric White of Vinson & Elkins LLP served as pro bono counsel on this brief, as they did on an amicus brief in which TechFreedom joined with CEI and Cato last year, challenging the FCC's indecency regulations.

For more on the constitutional violations of the FCC’s network neutrality rule, see:

• Randolph J. May, Net Neutrality Mandates: Neutering the First Amendment in the Digital Age, 3 I/S: A J. of Law and Pol’y for the Info. Soc’y 198, 209 (2007);

• Daniel Lyons, Virtual Takings: The Coming Fifth Amendment Challenge to Net Neutrality Regulation, 86 Notre Dame L. Rev. 66, 97 (2011).

Friday
Jun292012

ALG - The death of the U.S. Constitution 

June 28, 2012, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today issued the following statement reacting to the Supreme Court's decision to uphold Obamacare:

"The U.S. Constitution died today.  The underlying hope and belief that our nation's founding document protected individual freedoms from an ever encroaching government is a thing of the past based upon this ruling.  It is inconceivable how these nine lifetime appointed jurists could have decided to keep a law that is such a blatant intrusion into each of our lives, but the result of their decision is that individuals can no longer rely on the federal government power being limited by anything other than the political pressure their individual elected representatives feel.  Ultimately, the Supreme Court has opted out of the battle to retain our freedoms, and has thrown in entirely with those who advocated for unlimited government authority.  It is truly a sad day for our nation."