Why is Boehner negotiating with Obama at all?
By Frank Salvato
As the nation stands ready to plunge over the so-called "fiscal cliff," it has become obvious that no matter how many ways House Republicans find to "increase revenue," in an effort to meet President Obama and his Progressive brethren in compromise, nothing short of complete capitulation will placate the spendthrifts existing on the Left side of the aisle. It is abundantly clear that Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats intended all along to allow sequestration to occur, resulting in both the slashing of the budget at the Pentagon (an ongoing quest of both Democrats and Progressives) and gaining political capital in being able to con low-information voters into believing Republicans caused the problem in the first place.
One point that needs to be made – and understood – by even the most apolitical among us is this: Congress, and specifically the US House of Representatives, is where all legislation concerning revenue is mandated to originate. Article I, Section 7, of the United States Constitution reads:
"All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills."
And while the verbiage that follows outlines the processes by which the presidential veto and congressional veto overrides are to be executed, nowhere is the power of the purse – the ability to create legislation that raises revenue – extended to any other branch of government or congressional body.
I bring this fundamental tenet of our system of government to the forefront because I am puzzled as to why House Republicans, led by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), are negotiating budgetary financial matters, a responsibility and purview exclusively vested in the US House of Representatives, with anyone outside that body, let alone the Executive Branch, which only has the constitutional power of the veto over said legislation?
Such are the questions that arise when the bully pulpit is used to usurp the constitutional order of our government.
The Framers were very specific to empower the House with being able to originate legislation pertaining to revenue because they understood that members of the House were the most vulnerable of the federally elected to the ballot box. The people could more easily vote out of office House members who abused their trust, and at a more frequent interval. So, to nefariously – and unconstitutionally – reapportion that power to any other governmental body is to commandeer the ability of the people to easily hold their elected officials accountable for fiscal irresponsibility.
If, in fact, the US Constitution were to be followed in this instance, the House would create, debate and vote on a bill that would set the financial abilities of the US federal government for the coming fiscal year. That bill would be presented, as passed, to the US Senate, which, as that point, has the power to "propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills." The bill is then reconciled and is presented to the President of the United States, who, in turn, can either veto the legislation or sign it into law. This isn't happening today.
Today, we witness the Speaker of the House entering into budgetary negotiations with the Executive Branch, which has no constitutional authority to craft legislation on anything at all. So, the question must be asked, what purpose – or for what reason – is Mr. Boehner inviting the Executive Branch into legislative negotiations involving revenue; a subject area specifically vested in the US House of Representatives?
By allowing the Executive Branch the power – or the perceived power – to sit at the "legislative table," not only is the separation of powers transcended, it opens up the door for a more potent presidential "bully pulpit" while allowing Democrats and Progressives in the US Senate, led by perhaps the most notorious political opportunist in the history of the United States, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), the power of the pocket veto and the ability to run "interference" for their Progressive brethren in the Executive Branch so as to create political capital where there – constitutionally – shouldn't be any.
So again, why are House Republicans even entertaining the idea of budgetary negotiations with not only the Executive Branch, but the Senate, as well? They should simply pass the bill they want to send to the Senate and lay the blame of higher taxes at the feet of the Party and the Movement who exist as the textbook definition of "spendthrift."
And while we are on the subject of taxes, budgets, debt and the deficit, since Congress – and specifically the US House – is responsible for the power of the purse, let us look back at which political party has historically held control of the US House as it amassed today's crippling debt.
Since 1933 Democrats and Progressives have had control of the US House of Representatives for 64 years; Republicans have held sway for 14 years. Incidentally, Democrats and Progressives have had control of the US Senate for 58 years during that same period. Additionally, during that same period, there have been 7 Democrat and Progressive Presidents of the United States, starting with Franklin Roosevelt, and 6 Republican presidents.
During that same time period, US federal spending as a percent of Gross Domestic Product has grown from approximately 13 percent to 37 percent today, with spikes during World War II and then again in 2009.
During that same time period, the United States Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Public Debt, in 2010, established that our US public debt has grown from $16.9 billion in 1930 to $13.562 trillion in 2010. Today, that debt stands at approximately $16.410 trillion.
These facts prove one thing without question: that Congress has more power than the President when it comes to raising revenue, spending tax dollars and accruing debt. Regardless of which party held the White House from 1933 on, revenue generation (read; tax rates) have soared, and federal spending – as well as the public debt – has exploded under a predominantly Democrat and Progressive controlled US House and Senate.
So, as President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi manipulate the mainstream media into presenting the false argument that should Republicans not agree to raise taxes on the "One-Percenters" everyone will suffer, the fact of the matter is this. Democrats and Progressives cannot be trusted with the financial well-being of our nation. History proves this out in no uncertain terms...again...and again...and again. In fact, the only people hurt by the totalitarian demands of the disingenuous Democrat and Progressive Left are We the People. Truth be told, the federal government will still have trillions to spend, just as We the People have less for their fiscal incompetence.
So, I ask again: Why are Mr. Boehner and House Republicans negotiating with President Obama over the so-called "fiscal cliff" when they don't have to? Why are they negotiating with him when they know it's a losing proposition? And why are they not adhering to the US Constitution?
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director for BasicsProject.org a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative focusing on Constitutional Literacy and the threats of Islamic jihadism and Progressive neo-Marxism. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network and has been a featured guest on al Jazeera's Listening Post, Radio Belgrade One and on Russia Today. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and was featured in the documentary, "Ezekiel and the MidEast ‘Piece' Process: Israel's Neighbor States." He is the author of the series Understanding the Threat of Radical Islam, an educational pamphlet series. Mr. Salvato is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Captain's America Radio Show, nationally syndicated by the Phoenix Broadcasting and ABC Starguide Satellite Networks, catering to the US Armed Forces around the world. He is also heard weekly on The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth syndicated nationally on the IRN-USA Radio Network. Mr. Salvato has been interviewed on Radio Belgrade One. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times, Accuracy in Media, Human Events, and are syndicated nationally. He is a featured political writer for EducationNews.org, BigGovernment.com and Examiner.com and is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.