Are We Being Represented?

US Capitol BuildingDo you feel safe with Republicans in control of both houses of congress? The Republicans hold 247 seats (out of 435) in the House of Representatives and 54 seats (out of 100) in the Senate.

The New American magazine in the July 20th, 2015 publication took its first look at the 114th Congress in the article “The Freedom Index” (available here as a PDF). The article contained a Congressional Scorecard based on the U.S. Constitution. It recorded the constitutionality of each congressman’s vote on 10 key issues (constitutionality measured by adherence to the constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, national sovereignty, and a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements).

The report card is not a good one. You would not want your child to bring one home like this one. On the 10 key issues, the House of Representatives followed constitutional principles only 42% of the time and Senate 47% of the time. This means most of the time our Representatives and Senators were influenced by something other than the Constitution, and chose to govern outside the oath of office they took to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution is the Law of the Land and by it we can and should measure our elected officials behavior and hold them accountable for their votes.

With millions of dollars available from lobbyists it takes a person of character to adhere to the principles contained in the Constitution and ignore the lure of money.

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The U.S. House of Representatives vs. the Constitution

The House under Republican control is in trouble. On the10 major Bills put before them, the House scored 42% (58% of the votes ignored constitutional principles and looked to other considerations).

The Republican majority in the House is not a constitutional bastion, only 57% of their votes adhered to constitutional principles. Probably not what you expected or hoped for — me either. This leaves us, who elected them, unrepresented. At a middling 57%, the representation we received from our collective Republican Representatives could have easily been approximated by flipping a coin. When reelection time comes look at what they have voted for, not what they say.

Only 6 Republican Representatives scored 90% or higher on their votes. Scores in the range of 40% to 60% contained 85% of the House Republican membership (RINOville). This includes our honorable Texas Representative John Ratacliffe (60%, Yuck) and our honorable Arkansas Representative Bruce Westerman (50%, Double Yuck).

In the House, only one Representative – Thomas Massie (R) of Kentucky (sorry, Texas and Arkansas) – earned 100 percent.

Democrats grossly ignored the Constitution, adhering to it on a miserable 22% of their votes.

No Democrat scored above 40%, and 70 % of their membership scored 20% or less.

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The U.S. Senate vs. the Constitution

The Senate under Republican control is little better than the House. On the 10 major issues put before them, the Senate followed constitutional principles only 47% of the time (53% of the time, the Senators relied on some other influence to determine their vote).

Four Senators – Shelby and Sessions (Alabama), Paul (Kentucky) and Lee (Utah) scored 100 percent (sorry again, Texas and Arkansas). Twenty-one of the fifty-four Republican Representatives rated 90% or better. Texas’ Ted Cruz rated 90% and John Cornyn 70%. I expect a presidential candidate to rate 100% and the other one to be replaced in 5 years. Arkansas’ John Boozman and Tom Cotton both rated 90%.

Senate Democrats more grossly ignored the Constitution than their House counterparts, with a miserable 11% constitutional rating.

Interestingly, the only vote keeping Cruz, Boozman and Cotton from scoring 100% was their vote on the “Trade Promotion Authority” (TPA).

The TPA fast-tracks legislation by allowing the Executive Branch to negotiate trade agreements while stripping Congress of its Constitutional authority to propose amendments and for the Senate to filibuster; effectively tying Congressional hands behind their back. Additionally, the necessary vote for passage in each houses of Congress is lowered to a simple majority instead of the Constitutionally mandated 2/3 majority.

The vote went as follows:

Senate Vote: 99 total votes. A 2/3 majority would be 67, but the TPA passed 62 to 37,

  • Voting for passage: Cruz, Cornyn (Texas); Boozman, Cotton (Arkansas)

House Vote: 430 total total votes. A 2/3 majority would be 287, but the TPA passed 219 to 211

  • Voting for passage: Ratcliffe (Texas); Westerman (Arkansas)]

Why Upholding the Constitution is Important

Using the TPA as an example, the two trade agreements that Congress has unconstitutionally delegated authority to the Executive Branch to negotiate (the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) will establish tribunals that claim authority to overrule our laws, courts and constitutions at all levels of government. Our Representatives and Senators dishonored their vow to uphold the Constitution and failed to protect us, the citizens of America.

A member of one of these partnerships may opt to appeal their case to the World Trade Organization tribunal (WTO), which claims global jurisdiction and authority. The New American magazine in the June 5th, 2015 publication noted such a case as follows:

“Most recently, the WTO appellate tribunal ruled against the United States in a NAFTA suit brought by Canada and Mexico that claimed the U.S. Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) law, which requires foreign meat to be labeled as such, is an unfair and illegal trade practice. The WTO’s May 18 ruling was the fourth time in three years that the global court had ruled against COOL, even though U.S. courts had ruled that COOL is legal.

Faced with WTO penalties and threats of retaliation, the U.S. Congress is now considering repeal of COOL, and American consumers may soon lose the ability to discover if the meat at the grocery store (or the fast food burger/taco joint) is U.S.-raised, or from Mexico, Brazil, or China.”

As The New American noted, “The TPP and TTIP would exempt foreign corporations from our laws and regulations, placing the resolution of any disputes regarding those matters in the hands of an “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” Tribunal or the WTO.

If Congress capitulates, we will be going down a slippery slope to being dominated by the courts of International Trade Tribunals; Tribunals made up of people who are not accountable to the people over whom they presides. We may give up our God given rights (Declaration of Independence) which are protected by our government under Constitution to International Trade Tribunals that can contain Communists, Muslims or businessmen who have their own agenda and are not interested in the security of or rights of citizens of the United States of America. This is merely one example of why voting according to the principles of our Constitution is important.

Now that you know, will you contact your House Representative and Senators and demand they adhere to principles of the Constitution or will you be a willing passive participant of the loss of our Freedoms and Liberty?

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Texas Senate

The Honorable John Cornyn
United States Senate
517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-4305
202-224-2934
http://www.cornyn.senate.gov/

The Honorable Ted Cruz
United States Senate
404 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-4306
DC Phone 202-224-5922
http://www.cruz.senate.gov/

Texas House

The Honorable John Ratcliffe
325 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6673
Fax: (202) 225-3332

Texarkana Office
2600 North Robison Road
Suite 190
Texarkana, TX 75599
Phone: (903) 823-3173
Fax (903) 832-3232

Arkansas Senate

The Honorable Tom Cotton
124 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
DC Phone 202-224-2353
DC FAX 202-228-0908
http://www.cotton.senate.gov

The Honorable John Boozman
United States Senate
141 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0406
DC Phone 202-224-4843
DC Fax 202-228-1371
http://www.boozman.senate.gov/

Arkansas House

The Honorable Bruce Westerman
United States House of Representatives
130 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-0404
DC Phone: 202-225-3772
DC Fax: 202-225-1314
https://westerman.house.gov/contact

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