Chatting it up w/ Congressman Walberg’s People

Ryan Boeskool
Legislative Aide — Rep. Tim Walberg

Dear Ryan,

Below find a article written by a Constitutional Scholar and a gentleman who served in the Reagan administration. This pertains to our brief discussion on the potential problems with the constitutionality of the recent legislative action in connection with the creation of a Supreme US Congressional structure in order to consider budgetary issues.

Cheers,

Bret L. McAtee
Pastor — Charlotte Christian Reformed Church

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/the_budget_control_act_of_2011_violates_constitutional_order.html

Bret,

The basic response from academia appears to be thus:

http://justenrichment.com/2011/08/04/the-constitutionality-of-the-super-congress/

“The Super Congress doesn’t have the power to do anything absent Congressional approval. Your representative government created the Super Congress, and your representative government will vote its proposals up or down.”

The most compelling reasons for the constitutionality of the act from this legal review are as follows:

The Constitutionality of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (Established by the Recent Debt Ceiling Act)

1. Article I, § 5 of the Constitution provides that “Each House may determine the Rules of its proceedings.” This is the basis for how a wide variety of Congressional decisions are delegated in the first instance to committees, and how some matters are delegated to joint committees. And the Act makes clear that, “The provisions of this title are enacted by Congress … as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively, and as such they shall be considered as part of the rules of each House, respectively, or of that House to which they specifically apply.”

3. Of course, the rules made by the Houses at one point may be changed later, and the Act acknowledges this: “The provisions of this title are enacted by Congress … with full recognition of the constitutional right of either House to change such rules (so far as relating to such House) at any time, in the same manner, and to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of such House.” It might be politically difficult to go back on the fast-track system created by the Act — just as it’s politically difficult to cut back on the filibuster in the Senate, another example of an important feature of our political system that’s created by a Rule of one of the Houses — and I think the authors of the Act wanted that to be politically difficult. But that doesn’t make the rule change unconstitutional.

Thoughts?

Ryan

Ryan Boeskool
Legislative Aide — Rep. Tim Walberg

Ryan,

Thank you for responding.

I apologize if I ever communicated that I thought that counter-arguments were not possible regarding the unconstitutionality of the Super-Congress arrangement. Clearly there are counter arguments. There are always counter arguments, and sometimes those very feeble counter arguments win the day such in the Roe vs. Wade case or the ridiculous rulings on the Commerce clause or the rulings that have given us the doctrine of incorporation.

The problem with this quote you provided,

“The Super Congress doesn’t have the power to do anything absent Congressional approval. Your representative government created the Super Congress, and your representative government will vote its proposals up or down.”

is that the Super Congress obviates the ability of local Congressman to offer amendments and of US Senators to filibuster legislation. Such a Super Congress makes the rest of the Congress, excepting party leadership, largely superfluous window-dressing. Now I quite agree that “each House may determine the Rules of its proceedings,” but I do not agree that Congress can un-Congress itself in favor of a Politburo Congress. Such a action is unconstitutional.

On another related issue to Rep. Walbergs recent Coffee gathering is this article by Thomas Sowell.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/274020/pyrrhic-victory-thomas-sowell#

You will, no doubt, remember that Rep. Walberg put great stock in parading that Thomas Sowell agreed with him on his woeful debt ceiling vote. Well, as the above article reveals, Sowell has reversed himself on the wisdom of that vote.

Has Rep. Walberg reversed himself likewise on his vote for this woeful legislation or does he now think that Dr. Sowell is wrong?

Thank you again for the conversation.

Bret L. McAtee
Pastor — Charlotte Christian Reformed Church

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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