Renewing efforts to uphold 10th Amendment protections

Published 7:00 am Thursday, April 16, 2015

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited
by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
– U.S. Constitution, 10th Amendment
The Obama Administration has made it clear that it is willing to circumvent Congress to achieve its priorities. An overhaul of immigration law, unreasonable rules on carbon dioxide emissions, and dozens of major changes to Obamacare are a few examples of the President’s oversteps.

Like many Americans, I am troubled that these actions blatantly supersede the authority of the executive branch as set forth in the Constitution. Our founding document gives Congress the sole authority to create and enact legislation. The President is directed to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” – not rewrite them.
Bill of Rights Limits Federal Power
The Administration’s repeated unilateral overreach is a direct challenge to the separation of powers at the heart of our democracy. Rather than governing by consensus, the President has routinely attempted to impose his agenda singlehandedly, putting the will of federal bureaucrats over the will of the people. Many of these decisions to bypass Congress have ended up in the courts, creating long and costly legal battles.

In the coming days, I plan to reintroduce the “Restoring the 10th Amendment Act” as a way to help rein in the federal government’s rampant power grabs and hold the Administration accountable. As part of the Bill of Rights, the 10th Amendment provides a clear limit on Washington’s encroachment into Americans’ lives.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

My bill would uphold our country’s critical system of checks and balances by returning power to where it belongs – with states and individuals. It would offer state officials another tool to challenge the Administration’s unconstitutional actions. Specifically, the bill would ensure that these officials have standing in court to dispute proposed federal regulations that violate the 10th Amendment.
A Flood of Rules and Regulations
The broad scope of federal agencies’ rulemaking should not be ignored. The Federal Register, which publishes proposed and final agency regulations, reached nearly 80,000 pages last year. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, five of the six years with the greatest number of Federal Register pages have occurred during the Obama Administration. So far, the Administration has issued approximately 21,000 rules, averaging 3,500 each year.

Meanwhile, public confidence in the federal government is at historic lows. The most recent General Social Survey, conducted by the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, shows only 11 percent of Americans have great confidence in the executive branch. A record-high 44 percent have hardly any confidence at all.

Our Founding Fathers understood the danger of unchecked power and set forth principles like the 10th Amendment to safeguard our republic’s limited government. Members of Congress have a responsibility to make sure that the Administration does not abuse these principles for its own gain. My “Restoring the 10th Amendment Act” would uphold this responsibility while defending the rights of states and the American people.

By Senator Roger Wicker