Both Liberals and conservatives have long argued that the Executive Branch of our government has grown far too powerful in recent years. Sadly, the two groups do this at alternate times – the liberals say this when a Republican is in the White House, and the conservatives say it when a Democrat resides there. The honest truth is that both groups are right – the Presidency has grown too powerful and something must be done about it.
To that end, few in Congress seem willing to do anything about the problem. Which is where true believers, ideologues who actually believe the things they say, must come in. Conservatives like Rand Paul, Thomas Massie and Justin Amash are doing the work that the “regular” politicians in the GOP and Democrat Party just don’t seem willing to do.
Congressman Massie recently wrote an op-ed explaining what needs to be done.
Although rolling back the power of executive branch agencies will take time, the first step is a return to regular order for the appropriations process. Each year, the House should pass its 12 individual appropriations bills, then send each one to the Senate. If the obstructionist tactics of a few senators block the Senate from passing its own 12 bills, at least it will be clear to the American people exactly which senators deserve the blame. After the House and Senate pass their bills and reconcile them, they should then present 12 separate bills – 12 separate “funding checks” – to the president.
If the president were to reject one of the 12 checks because it didn’t fund all of the regulations he wanted, the other 11/12ths of the government would still be fully funded. He could not, for instance, shut down the Department of Veterans Affairs or withhold our soldiers’ pay over a funding disagreement regarding the EPA. A return to the regular appropriations process would remove the president’s ability to take the entire government hostage.
Next year, let us hope for a return to regular order so Congress can reassert its power of the purse.