Thursday, December 30, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
The 111th Congress has adjourned, never to have another meeting date (sine die in Latin). Thank God it is finally over. Let's take a brief look at the damage that has been done by this left wing radical Congress...
111-003 Children's Health Insurance Program
111-005 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
111-031 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
(You know, the act that modifies the government employees Thrift Savings Plan, the Civil Service Retirement System, and the Federal Employees' Retirement System and by the way tells you that smoking is bad for you.
111-148 Entitled The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
The BIG one!
111-203 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
They also confirmed 2 Supreme Court Justices and and ratified the START treaty.
Of the approximately 290 laws passed. There were approximately 63 post offices named or about 21% of the laws passed. Then of course there is the commemorative coins minted, Congressional Medial of honor winners, and other "pat on the backs" that Congress feels obligated to give out.
There were two laws they passed this session that I really liked (and most likely the only ones read by Congressmen):
111-165 To provide that Members of Congress shall not receive a cost of living adjustment in pay during fiscal year 2011
111-289 Appointing the day for the convening of the first session of the One Hundred Twelfth Congress.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
I remember watching Monday Night Football and "Dandy" Don Meredith would sing this when the losing team had no chance to win. Fitting that Don passed away on the same day the Denver Broncos were eliminated from the playoffs. So this one's for "Dandy" Don and the Denver Broncos....
Saturday, December 4, 2010
I've been thinking about about the lame duck sessions for Congress and the President lately and the concept just boggles my mind. Why after an election where a majority of people decide on a new Congress or President do we allow for a sitting Congress or President to make decisions or laws?
Let's start at the beginning (the very best place to start). In the original Constitution the date which a new session of Congress begins was the first Monday of December. The date which the Presidents term was to begin was not in the original Constitution. March 4 was the date that was 30 days following the casting of Electoral College votes in Congress (February 4, 1789)for George Washington. That gave him time to travel to the capitol (New York) to the inaugural.
The first Constitutional reference to the Presidential inauguration date (March 4) was in the 12th Amendment.
The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President ... if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President...
That still did not set the exact inauguration date for President. That all changed with the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution. This Amendment set both the Presidential and Congressional term start dates.
The Twentieth Amendment
1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.
4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.
5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.
6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.
So that is the history of the lame ducks in a nut shell. Now I will get on with my rant on why this has turned crazy.
First off, this age of communications and travel advances there is no reason to have any kind of lame duck for the President or the Congress. The lame duck Congress and President have no accountability to what is passed during the lame duck sessions. I heard it explained on the Fred Thompson Show as "It is like giving your ex-wife your check book after the divorce." It just doesn't make any since. The "ruling" party could pass (and have passed) all kinds for legislation without having to account for their actions to the people they are to represent.
For example, There was a vote for censure of the crook Charlie Rangel. During that vote our Representative, John Salazar, voted no. Charlie Rangel is a convicted criminal and our Representative said essentially that the people of the Third Congressional District think that is A-OK. I don't believe that is true. That is just a small example.
I believe that after an election, there is no reason to wait until the Third of January to swear in Congressmen. Have the new congressmen sworn in the day their election results have been verified. The "official" start date of Congress could still be in January, but the new Congressmen could already be serving. That eliminates the lame duck problems with Congress.
How about the President? I think we could actually eliminate most of the lame duck for the President. The President does have to wait until the electoral votes are cast in the new Congress. If we change the Congresses start date back to the original Third of December of the election year, that gives time for the election to be settled.
You might asking yourself "What about the time the President needs to create a new government?" I understand that the President needs to make key appointments during that lame duck session so they can "hit the ground running" when they are inaugurated. Why does that have to be after the election?
Wouldn't it be more informational for the electorate to see who a prospective President will appoint before the election? I mean it might have changed a few votes if we knew that folks like Tim "the Tax-Cheat" Geithner and "Rahm "Dead Fish" Emanuel were going to be in key White House positions.
I believe that we should be fighting to have a Constitutional Amendment to revise the Twentieth amendment. The time has come to make a change into the 21st century.