Thursday, October 7, 2010

Congressional Oaths and Pledges

In a recent speech at the American Enterprise Institute, House GOP Leader John Boehner said:

We always hear members of Congress talking about swearing an oath to represent their constituents when in reality the only oath we take is to the Constitution. We pledge "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States." No more, no less.

But we have strayed far afield from our job description. Members go out and promise their constituents the moon, and to try and fulfill those commitments, they agree to conform to a system that emphasizes seniority and party loyalty. The ropes they are shown lead to passing more bills, micromanaging more bureaucracies, and raiding the federal treasury.

That is why, in the Pledge to America, the governing agenda my colleagues and I issued last week, we state that every bill that comes to the floor of the House should contain a clear citation of constitutional authority. If we cannot do this much--we should put down the pen and stop right there.
Representative John Shaddegg (R-AZ) proposed such a rule in HR 450.