Executive Restraint Amendment
A proposed amendment to the US Constitution that empowers Congress to restrain executive and bureaucratic overreach.
Executive Branch Restraint
In recent years, the executive branch and agencies have issued new regulations and orders at an alarming rate (recent annual count 80,000!), and these are sometimes not within the constitutional authority of the issuer. But the tools available to Congress to challenge them are cumbersome and slow.
As a result, we have a very inefficient system with which to challenge and correct these new edicts. We the People should not settle for this inept performance; we should not permit federal officials to waste so much time in these ineffective pursuits when important policy issues are awaiting our attention.
We must give Congress the power to block new orders and regulations from the president and the bureaucracies that congressmen believe are unconstitutional or are properly the subject matter of legislation. This will be a counterpart to the president’s veto power, and will help level the playing field in Washington.
It will end the current bias in the system toward unlawful behavior: today’s practice burdens a challenger with the task of proving a new order or regulation as unlawful, but leaves the order in place for perhaps years while the challenge proceeds in the courts. This bias encourages bureaucrats to rush out new edicts and put them into practice with the hope that they will slip past busy congressmen or will end up in front of a single judge that is sympathetic to the thrust of the edict.
This was most certainly not the outcome that the founders intended: the support of one unelected individual (the federal judge) approves and implements a policy that is opposed by the representatives of the People (Congress)! If the People are sovereign (and we are), this practice must be ended.
Summary of the Amendment
Many people believe that the executive branch, under presidents of both parties, has overreached itself in recent years. However, current remedies for overreach—publicity, lawsuits, denials of funding, and impeachment—have not proved adequate to address the problem. We, therefore, support an amendment providing as follows:
Whenever the President or any independent agency of the government of the United States proposes a regulation (or order) governing matters of domestic policy, the President or agency shall inform Congress of such proposed regulation at least sixty (60) days prior to its intended effective date. If either the Senate or the House of Representatives adopts a resolution stating that the subject matter of the regulation is properly the subject matter of legislation or is deemed to be unconstitutional, the regulation shall not take effect.
In the event that a regulation or order is so blocked, the issuer would be free to pursue a legislative solution. This is the way our republic was intended to work.
This amendment would provide a direct way of remedying executive overreach. It would be speedier and less expensive than a lawsuit, less clumsy than defunding, and less drastic than impeachment. It would be an efficient way to deal with the conflict.
Author: Frank Keeney
Socialism or Freedom
The last 200 years have given us a ring-side seat at the workings of a number of different government forms. When we evaluate them, we do not need to rely on theory; we can observe the actual positive and negative results.