|Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 1.14.13
Monday, January 14, 2013 â€“
Early in the 112th Congress two short years ago, members of the House of Representatives read the Constitution aloud for what is thought to have been the first time in the history of the House. I participated in its reading, and remained on the floor as my colleagues filed in for their turn to read. As I listened to different voices from across the country speaking the words of this founding document, I reflected on the enormity of my job.
This week, members of the House will again read the text of the Constitution in what I hope will be a reminder of the â€śsocial contractâ€ť between the people of these United States and the centralized federal government. I also hope that this will be a tradition that continues.
Throughout the years, there has been much debate regarding the size and scope of the federal government, and I have heard from many constituents who believe that the government is exceeding the power granted by the Constitution. With that in mind, I hope that all in Congress will join me in looking forward to the reading of the 10th Amendment, which protects the powers of the various states. It reads: â€śThe 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."
The Constitution is the supreme law of the United States, and lays out the powers and limitations of the government, including the power to spend and the power to tax.
Also required by law passed by Congress itself is the obligation to adopt a budget. Passing a budget is not optional. The House of Representatives has completed our required budget work in each of the past two years, but the Senate, on the other hand, has not passed a budget in more than 1,350 days, thatâ€™s right, in three years and nine months. Furthermore, we got word that the President will again miss his deadline to submit his budget plan to Congress, a deadline he has met just once in the last five years. Rather than advancing mandates and orders that dictate policies to the states, the House, the Senate, and the White House ought to focus on completing the work we are required to do.
I suspect the reason the Senate has not done a budget in that three-year-and-nine-month period is that they donâ€™t want to make the tough decisions. To pass a budget would require them to either cut spending or take an actual vote approving the current spending levels, which have resulted in four straight years of trillion dollar deficits. If we are going to keep America financially strong for our children and grandchildren, cutting spending is not an option, it is a necessity.
The Senate has failed to pass a budget, and the President repeatedly says he will not negotiate with the House of Representatives regarding cutting spending and the debt ceiling increase he wants. I understand, as do most members of the House, that there must be compromise on the issues facing our nation today, including spending. But with a Senate that will not act and a President that will not negotiate, the Democratic leadership in Washington has effectively removed the middle ground so necessary in order to reach any compromise. I am hopeful that they are merely taking a tough bargaining position, but if they are serious, we have no choice but to cut up the government credit card and decline to raise the debt ceiling.
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.