U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is championing legislation to hold members of Congress accountable to constitutional limitations. Sen. Toomey is co-sponsoring the Enumerated Powers Act of 2013 (S. 1404), a bill by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), which requires that every bill Congress passes state which part of the U.S. Constitution authorizes the legislation.
"I'm pleased to cosponsor this important legislation with Sens. Coburn and Paul to restore constitutional limits on out-of-control government spending," said Sen. Toomey. "For too long, Congress has acted as if the rules don't matter when it comes to regulating and spending taxpayers' money. With this bill, we are returning Congress to its place under the limits of the U.S. Constitution and making government a better steward of Americans' hard-earned dollars."
"Many of our nation's fiscal woes can be linked to Congress's ignorance of, and refusal to follow, the clear constitutional limitations on our power to legislate," Dr. Coburn said. "Our founders recognized the need for the federal government's powers to be strictly limited - not only to ensure effective governance but to prevent unrestrained federal overreach. Limiting government is important because it liberates people and expands freedom and opportunity. Today, Americans have more government but less liberty, less economic mobility, and less disposable income. I am hopeful this legislation will correct this trend by reconnecting Congress with the enumerated powers outlined in the U.S. Constitution and codifying Congressional accountability to the Constitution."
"When I ran for the Senate, one of my promises was to fight to pass an Enumerated Powers Act," Senator Paul said. "Politicians in Washington should abide by their oath to uphold the Constitution by only legislating within the powers it gives to the federal government. I am proud to be the lead co-sponsor of Sen. Coburn's bill to make this a reality."
The Enumerated Powers Act of 2013 does the following:
1) Requires each Act of Congress, bill, resolution, conference report and amendment to "contain a concise explanation of the specific authority in the Constitution" that is the basis for its enactment.
2) Prohibits the use of the Commerce Clause, except for "the regulation of the buying and selling of goods or services, or the transporting for those purposes, across boundaries with foreign nations, across State lines, or with Indian tribes..."
3) Allows a point of order to be raised in either House of Congress for bills that fail to cite constitutional authority.