PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS PROTECTION ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - November 03, 2005)
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Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time.
Mr. Chairman, I first want to thank the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, the gentleman from Wisconsin, and also the ranking member, the gentleman from Michigan, for their leadership in this area.
This is a very important issue before Congress, and I am very pleased that Congress is acting. The idea that a person's home or business can be taken by the government and transferred to another private entity simply to allow the government to collect additional tax revenue seems anathema to the values that Americans cherish. But the Supreme Court has now thrown its weight behind this distinctly un-American ideal by ruling that economic development can be a public use under the fifth amendment's takings clause.
Few would question the Constitution provides a legitimate role for eminent domain when the purpose is a true public use and the property owner receives just compensation. That happens all of the time, and that is appropriate. Properly used, eminent domain should give communities an option of last resort to complete the development of roads and schools and utilities and other essential public infrastructure projects.
As a former Cincinnati city councilman and Hamilton County commissioner myself, I would be remiss if I did not mention my concern for some unintended consequences that congressional action could have on communities if we do not act carefully, and I think we have acted carefully in this bill, and I thank, again, the chairman and the ranking member for doing that.
We had testimony by the mayor of Indianapolis. I also want to commend the former mayor of Dayton, Congressman Mike Turner, who is the head of the Saving America's Cities Working Group, who has worked diligently to try to make this a better bill as well. Many people have worked on this.
I am very pleased that Congress is going to take this action to make sure that eminent domain is not used in an inappropriate purpose. If Kelo was left as it was ruled by the Supreme Court, it could be used in a way that could be dangerous, that could be to the detriment of communities all around this country.
So I am very pleased that we are acting on this today, and again want to commend the chairman and Congress for acting.
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