Mr. JOHNSON of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I find it would be irresponsible if I didn't mention this. It sounds like the lightbulb has come on for my colleague from Maryland. He now says that we should replace the sequester. I only wish that that lightbulb had come on when the House passed under Republican leadership--twice--legislation in the 112th Congress to replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts. So it looks like here we are again.
The recent admission by the IRS that it used its considerable authority and resources to target certain Americans because of their political affiliation should serve as an urgent warning to all Americans: the Federal Government is getting too large and has too much control. The simple truth is that when the government expands, personal liberty contracts.
I found it both stunning and revealing when the former adviser to President Obama, David Axelrod, said this:
Part of being President is there's so much beneath you that you can't know because the government is so vast.
For a member of this President's inner circle to admit that the Federal Government is so massive that it is essentially not practical for the chief executive to hold it accountable or for the President to effectively manage it is simply stunning. It also begs the question, if it is no longer possible for the President of the United States to oversee all the Federal agencies assigned to him and to hold them accountable, then who is? Is anyone?
As if the IRS scandal wasn't bad enough, there are other troubling stories that have arisen in the last few weeks. The Associated Press has said that the administration monitored hundreds of private phone calls between reporters. Is this really freedom of the press? Then we find that talking points given to the administration to tell the American people what happened on that fateful night in Benghazi were twisted, cut, turned, and edited to the point that the truth wound up on the cutting room floor in the White House, or at the State Department, or at the CIA, or at the Department of Defense. Actually, we don't even really know. But we're going to find out.
But we do know one very troubling thing: the Federal Government, with the IRS leading the way, is about to become exponentially larger and more powerful because it's about to get into the health care business. ObamaCare will be fully implemented by next January. And, according to the Treasury Department's inspector general, the new health care law is the largest set of new tax law changes in 20 years.
The IRS will be hiring more bureaucrats to make sure Americans comply with these new laws and to oversee the flood of new personal information the Federal Government will be collecting on the American people. For example, under ObamaCare, the Federal Government will require insurance companies to report to the IRS the name, the address, the identification number, and type of policy purchased by every customer. And, if that weren't enough, the IRS will also require insurance companies to detail whether or not individuals purchased ``government-approved health care'' to ensure compliance with ObamaCare's individual mandate.
And, just yesterday, Lois Lerner, head of the IRS' Exempt Organizations Division, announced that she would be invoking the Fifth Amendment to protect herself from self-incrimination.
The truth is that our Federal Government is too big, too intrusive, and it's seeping into every aspect of our lives. It's taking away personal freedoms and collecting personal data. It has shown it can be manipulated to punish fellow Americans for their political beliefs, all at the expense of the American taxpayer.
And let me be clear: I'm not a no-regulation guy. We need commonsense regulations to ensure that our food is safe, our air and water are clean, our transportation system and infrastructure are sound, and that our financial transactions are secure, among other things. However, this administration has issued more than 10,000 regulations to date, including 106 major new regulations imposing $46 billion in additional costs that are being paid for by the American people. This means more rules, more bureaucrats, bigger government, and less freedom.
Most troubling to me is that we were founded as a constitutional Republic, governed by the rule of law. But there are those in Washington who think we should be a Nation governed by the law of rules, where the President and his bureaucratic agencies make up the rules. This represents a fundamental break from our history and traditions dating back to our Founding Fathers. Our Founders placed their trust in the American people to elect their representatives to make the laws necessary to allow Americans to prosper.
Mr. Speaker, I ask the American people to consider America's government is getting too big and too out of control.
As members of the House, we serve at the pleasure of those we represent. The tens of thousands of bureaucrats implementing the more than 10,000 new regulations are accountable to no one, let alone the American people.
Those that will be making health care decisions for the American people on the Independent Payment Advisory Board, IPAB, will never appear on a ballot. The American people will never be able to hire or fire those making medical decisions on their behalf. Is that fair? Is that democratic? Is that what America is all about?
Mr. Speaker, this need not be a partisan issue. The American people deserve an effective, efficient Federal Government--a government that works for them and not the other way around.
I fear that as the government continues to grow and Obamacare is fully implemented, the consequences of transferring so much power, national treasure, and control to the Federal Government will be felt widely, personally, and painfully.
In the meantime, it is the duty of this Congress to vigorously oversee the Federal agencies, and root out those political appointees and bureaucrats who've abused their positions and violated the trust of the American people.