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How to Realistically End Obamacare and Stop the Iran Deal

How to Realistically End Obamacare and Stop the Iran Deal

September 22nd, 2015 // 11:21 am @

by Oliver DeMille

Emotions and Questions

Conscience_and_lawA lot of Americans are deeply frustrated. Many of them are downright angry about the direction our nation is taking. We use our power as citizens to change things—through elections. We send Congressmen and Senators to reverse things we don’t like, but they don’t do much. Why? “Because they can’t,” people tell me. “Because the president will just veto whatever they do. Or the Court will just decree whatever it wants. We’ve got no power. Our votes don’t accomplish anything.”

The Founder’s Way

The American founding fathers knew that situations like this would come up, so they wrote the Constitution in a very specific way. They gave the power of the purse strings to the House of Representatives for two vital reasons:

First, because they knew that the power to fund or defund any government action was the ultimate power in the Constitution. This power affects everything the government does. No budget equals no personnel, no staff, no petty cash, no anything. This is real teeth. And the framers gave it to the House so they would use it!

Second, the framers gave this power only to the House of Representatives. Why? Because Congressmen are elected directly by the voters, and they are elected every two years. Thus if Washington gets off track, the voters can re-constitute the entire House of Representatives every 24 months. The whole thing. And this new House can totally rewrite the budget. All of it .The House can refuse to fund anything, and that thing will go away.

The framers wanted the House to use the purse powers to defund or refuse to renew funding on things the people don’t like—such as Bush’s torture policies or secret big data spying on American citizens, or today’s Obamacare, federal funding of Planned Parenthood, the Iran deal, and other proposals at this level. That’s why the framers set up the Constitution the way they did.

Presidential vetoes, Court decisions, Senatorial refusals to confirm a presidential nomination, and House refusal to funding: these are all routine constitutional tools. And let’s be clear. The power of the purse is the exact level of extreme that the framers made it. The Court can say something’s constitutional and even say this part of government should stay open. The House can decide whether to fund that thing with $3 trillion or with 30 cents.

The framers knew that the president would have the power of the military, the Court would have the power of legal decisions, the Senate the power of treaties—and they wanted the House to have an equal power. This is the people’s power. This is the House’s power. It is pretty much their only real power. If they don’t use it, they have very little power. But if they do use it, they have the most power in Washington.

Indeed, the power of the purse, the House’s ability to simply withhold funding to the government on any new funding proposal, or renewed funding plan, is the “people’s veto” on the president and the Court. Yet today the president uses his veto power all the time, and the Court uses its decision-making power all the time, while the House almost never uses their veto power.

Why? Because when they do, the media convinces the American electorate that “shutting down the government” is somehow not part of the Constitution.

But the truth is the exact opposite. This House veto is absolutely vital.

Check and Balance

“But that’s so drastic,” some people say. “Shutting the government down is out of bounds. It’s extreme!”

Actually, it’s no more drastic or extreme than a presidential veto. Both of these powers were put in the Constitution by the framers for the same reason—the veto power to allow the president to check Congress, and the power over the purse to allow Congress to check the president.

It’s the most basic part of our governmental system. The three branches can check and balance each other. The president by veto, the Court by decision, the Senate by withholding confirmations, and the House by the power of the purse—by withholding funding. The framers did this on purpose. This is the whole point of three separate branches of government operating with checks and balances.

But the only Constitutional teeth the House has against the president is the power of the purse. And if the House never uses its Constitutional teeth against the president, then we’re living under a monarchy, not a democratic republic. The president will just do whatever he decides to do. That’s not freedom.

Our problems in Washington aren’t caused by vetoes and the checks and balances. Our problems are nearly all the result of not following the Constitution with its checks and balances. Just refuse to fund the agenda of any president who tries to use too much power (like sign a treaty with Iran by executive order instead of following the Treaty requirements in the Constitution). For the current Congress: Don’t renew funding of Obama programs until he takes you seriously. Until he stays within the Constitution. Stop funding his agenda, and he’ll stop doing whatever he wants. He’ll be forced to stop the overreach.

Stop blaming the White House, and stop blaming the Court. It’s 100% in the power of the House or the Senate. And the American citizenry needs to know this. If we don’t even know how powerful our votes make us under our Constitution, we’ll just keep getting more and more bad government.

 

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13 Comments → “How to Realistically End Obamacare and Stop the Iran Deal”


  1. Ammon Nelson

    2 years ago

    Doesn’t the President still have veto power over the appropriations bills though? The bill has to originate in the House, but the actual appropriations that become law are still subject to the veto power of the president. In order to appropriate funds for the programs that the Representatives in the House want, they need to be willing to fund the things the President wants funded. Perhaps I’m demonstrating my own civic ignorance, but how does the House defund something if the President can just veto the bill which defunds it?
    Ammon Nelson´s last blog post ..Smile


  2. Chris Nichols

    2 years ago

    Oliver, I agree 100% with you in principle, however in practice, we have these problems to overcome:
    1. A lazy House that wants to pass appropriations in and all-or-nothing omnibus.

    2. A political system where it takes hundreds of thousands of dollars to win a seat in the House… money that doesn’t come entirely from the districts (at least not in my part of NY).

    3. Political gamesmanship where if you don’t toe the line of the leadership (or get a pass) you get primaried and are sent home to face the music, or become a lobbyist (see #2.)

    4. Apathy and ignorance about political matters and how the government functions (or should function) on a disastrous scale.

    Until we figure out how to fix these things, the power of the purse is unavailable.

    How would you suggest fixing them?


  3. Keith

    2 years ago

    Oliver, let me answer the vital questions posed by Chris Nichols, because they are the same questions I would pose to you.

    After studying the constitution for so many years, I have come to one conclusion. There is one right we have that never gets discussed and yet it is our greatest power. It is in the first amendment, specifically “…the right of the people to peacefully assemble.” The problem is we have not figured out how to do this without using existing models of leadership.

    Let’s face it. Civil disobedience is dead. Sit ins, marches, occupy movements, and non-violent protests against government and crony insider corruption do not work any more. Henry David Thoreau’s On Civil Disobedience may have inspired Gandhi and Martin Luther King, but it will not work in our day. We need something else. We need a better model. So what is that model?

    This may sound a bit revolutionary, but I call for the rise of civil secession. Read the Political Optimist to see what this might be. It is now available on Amazon. It has nothing to do with rising up against the state or the nation. It has everything to do with rising up as a break away civil society locally. The secrete has been under our nose for centuries. We just have to learn how to scale it.

    If you want to find out how the answer is being applied in a business model, follow us at Freedom Course on Facebook or freedomcourse.com. The existing system is entirely broken. It is time to seceded civilly.


  4. Oliver DeMille

    2 years ago

    Ammon asked: “Wouldn’t the President just veto any appropriation the House makes?”

    Answer: You can’t veto a bill that is never passed. In other words, the House can pass funding of only $5 for something the President wants. The President will, of course, veto this and say that he wants more funding for it.

    The House shrugs, smiles, and says, “Oh well.” Then they don’t pass any bill that funds that thing—for any money. Nothing. No funding. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

    The President can only veto a bill that comes to him. He can’t veto a bill that never passes in Congress, that the House just stops discussing. As a result, there’s no funding for that thing. The House just killed it by inaction.

    That’s the power of the purse.

    The President can beg, complain, threaten, yell, whine. But unless the House passes a bill, the President can’t sign it or veto it. It just doesn’t pass, and there’s no funding for that thing. And the President can’t fund anything without the House. Nothing.

    In fact, the House can decide not to pass funding on anything the President wants. Or on everything the President wants. Until he passes what the House wants.

    This might cause a government shutdown, if nothing is funded. But the President still can’t veto it. That’s why the government shuts down, because the House has all the power over the purse. No House funding, no government spending. The President can’t veto it unless it passes the House. If it never passes, no spending.

    That’s the House’s power.

    To get technical, this power is actually a balance, not a check, even though it’s sometimes called the people’s check. A “check” is one branch actually doing something to stop another branch—like a veto, or the Court ruling something unconstitutional. A “balance”, in contrast, is something that requires two branches to both agree in order for it to happen. So if one branch doesn’t agree to it, the other branch doesn’t get to do it.

    The founders sometimes used a little bit different terminology on this—and it might help illuminate how this all works. They called a check a “negative”, and a balance a “positive”. In other words, a negative is something one branch uses to stop the action of another branch (like a veto). A positive is something that can only be done if two branches both agree to it (like any government spending).

    But note that the founders also sometimes called both of these things “checks”: a “negative check”, and a “positive check”. Today we more frequently use the terms “check” (what the founders called a negative) and “balance” (what the founders called a positive).

    Again, the President can’t veto a bill that never passes Congress. But Congress can use the act of not passing any spending the President wants to check him from doing anything that costs money. The framers set it up this way on purpose. Why? To keep the nation from having an out of control federal government where the voters can’t change things. Sounds familiar.

    If this seems extreme, think a bit deeper:

    • The framers gave the Commander in Chief charge of the military!
    • They gave the Court final say on constitutionality!

    Those are huge, huge powers!

    The framers knew that to balance such huge powers, they’d have to give Congress something just as big as all the guns, soldiers, and weapons. In fact, in history the executives usually turned their power into kingships and emperorships and took away all the power, so the framers wanted to give Congress even MORE power than the President.

    So they gave Congress the purse! And they did it in such a way that the President couldn’t even use a veto to stop Congress from withholding funds or shutting down the President’s government. Brilliant framers!

    The ironic part is that today’s voters are so widely duped by the media that they hear “government shutdown” and freak out that Congress is breaking the Constitution. In fact, the exact opposite is true.

    The truly amazing thing about this. Truly shocking. And dangerous, is that the large majority of regular people don’t understand the Constitution well enough to know this. They think the Court gets to decide whatever it wants. And they think the President can veto whatever he wants. But the Court only gets to decide certain things—written in the Constitution. And the President can only veto things Congress passes.

    And Congress can just shut down the President’s agenda by not passing any funding for anything he wants.

    If only the people knew this!

    When they fight a government shutdown, they are actually saying, “Please, please, we don’t want our votes to count. Just let the experts in Washington run everything. Please stop counting our votes in elections! We don’t trust ourselves.”

    Of course, they don’t know that’s what they’re saying. But they are.

    If only our citizens understood the Constitution. Truth is, even many very politically concerned people don’t understand the most basic elements of it.
    Oliver DeMille´s last blog post ..How to Realistically End Obamacare and Stop the Iran Deal


  5. Oliver DeMille

    2 years ago

    Chris, I TOTALLY agree. If I could amend what you said in one small way, I would simply say that #4 is 99% of the problem, because 1-3 are all a result of 4. If the people don’t understand the Constitution, how can we possibly expect government officials to follow it? That’s the biggest challenge America faces right now. We created the world’s biggest superpower based on the freedoms protected in the Constitution; and even improved the Constitution by getting past slavery; and now, we’re on the verge of losing it all because the people seem to be clueless about what the Constitution actually says and means. So, here’s the big question: how do you get at least 100,000,000 people to simply understand one sentence – the first sentence of Article I Section 7 of the Constitution? I honestly don’t know. Here’s the good news: The solution isn’t as big and complex and overwhelming as people think. We just need to get 100m people to understand one sentence. Again, how? …..

    I think the first step is to get the people who love freedom seeking the answer to this one, specific question.


  6. Chris Nichols

    2 years ago

    Agreed… I was analyzing the problem from top to bottom, so the solution has to come from the bottom up.

    I would argue, however, that Article I, Section 7 is not the appropriate section for your solution. That only deals with raising revenue.

    Section 8 deals with what congress may do – an important list to know!

    Section 9, clause 7 says: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”

    I think this is the clause you were referring to.

    That aside, how DO you educate 100,000,000 Americans about that clause?

    I’m thinking about social / viral media campaign.

    “If Congress is the problem, 197 is the answer.”

    What do you think?


  7. Ammon Nelson

    2 years ago

    That makes sense. Thanks for the explanation. So the real solution is to start with getting ourselves to understand that one sentence (and many, or all others in the constitution as Chris rightly explains several others which are vital).

    We can’t expect to get 100 million people to understand it if we don’t recognize that we, ourselves, don’t know what we don’t know. We must start to learn about the multitude of things about which we are ignorant of our ignorance – then start to remedy that ignorance with becoming informed of our ignorance and then informed to the extent that we can actually start to lead others.
    As is explained in Launching A Leadership Revolution, by Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady:
    Learning => Performance => Leadership => Leadership of Leaders => statistically significant change.

    The power of correct information … wow! But we must begin with ourselves.
    Ammon Nelson´s last blog post ..Smile


  8. Ammon Nelson

    2 years ago

    BTW, I agree with Chris:
    “If Congress is the problem, 197 is the answer.”
    Ammon Nelson´s last blog post ..Smile


  9. Oliver DeMille

    2 years ago

    I dearly wish you gentlemen were going to be attending my seminar this coming weekend. We’ll be doing a simulation with the participants on this very topic. We need answers. We need freedom lovers to bring solutions that will work.


  10. Ammon Nelson

    2 years ago

    Wish granted. I’m coming. I’ve been feverishly finishing the reading that I didn’t already have done.

    So excited!
    Ammon Nelson´s last blog post ..Smile


  11. Chris Nichols

    2 years ago

    Oliver, I’m honored by the invitation, but 2015 has proven to be financially challenging. Through your books and and a mutual friend, Shannon Brooks, I’ve come a long way in a short amount of time. My challenge now is how to get others to the same point and beyond.

    Here is a good example of exactly what you are referring to. My Congresswoman, the youngest in U.S. History, has co-signed a letter from House Freshmen asking the leadership to avoid a shutdown:

    https://stefanik.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/stefanik-costello-lead-freshman-letter-urging-colleagues-avert-shutdown

    I will probably write her a letter based on the conversation here. I’m curious what her response will be, if any.


  12. Regina Dickinson

    2 years ago

    Mr. DeMille, I enjoyed your well written article. I would like to comment on why people “freak out” over a government shut down. I don’t agree it’s because they are concerned the Constitution isn’t being followed. The congressman who do try to use the power of the purse suffer massive backlash because no one wants to “suffer” anything to preserve that power! Some of what they fear is real and some is perceived. There are many government employees who would be hurt in the process. If the government shut down happened the liberal powers that be, would do all in their power to make that “suffering” bigger than life until “we the people” cried out to Congress. So I guess the real problem as to why the House doesn’t use it’s power is because “we” don’t have the constitution for it. (Pun intended)
    Perhaps if we are able to give the people a realistic picture of what a shutdown really would entail and show how those affected can be helped, then we might have a chance of the people getting on board. I honestly think we have to start there (meaning help them get past fear) before people are going to be willing to study the Constitution. It has been too long since ,as a collective, we have studied the “language of our father’s” and it is going to take baby steps to get back to being able to do that.


  13. Ammon Nelson

    2 years ago

    Rand Paul suggesting this very solution:
    https://youtu.be/nPdnRvn-deQ
    Ammon Nelson´s last blog post ..Is correct information enough?


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