Hold Congress Accountable

The great majority of what the federal government does today is unconstitutional. For example, there is no constitutional authority for a Department of Education, a Department of Energy, a Department of Housing and Urban Development, or a National Endowment for the Arts.

The number of unconstitutional agencies and programs has exploded since World War II. The resulting federal monster is now bankrupting our nation and reducing the middle class. It ultimately targets our freedom. It must be tamed, and the Constitution provides the essential standard for doing so.

If our representatives, and the public behind them, do not view the Constitution as limiting the authorized functions of the federal government, they will find it impossible to oppose the vast array of intrusive, even counterproductive programs, the American economy is now expected to support.

For America to get back on its path to greatness and unprecedented prosperity and opportunity for all, the federal government must be put back under the constraints of the Constitution and honor the limited role established for it by America’s Founding Fathers.

This is no easy task, because few Americans understand the forces driving the centralization of power in Washington (see Contemporary Obstacles). But it can be done (see “Congress is the Key!“).

Partisan Politics

GOP posturing to the contrary, the two major parties have both cooperated in building the federal monster, and they continue to do so. Hidden from public view, the same internationalist-socialist influences currently dominate the leadership of both parties in Congress to ensure that America moves inexorably in the big-government direction.

The votes supporting this power grab must not be taken lightly. They provide the architects of this carefully designed coup with the means to force Americans into eventual slavery.

While the general legislative direction (more government) remains fixed, a great deal of partisan twisting and turning, within limits, serves to obscure the ultimate destination. Each party participates in the equivalent of a professional wrestling match to impress its own core constituency.

Americans make a huge mistake when they count on partisan politics to put America back on the proper path. A few small cuts in our budget or some new faces in Congress will not get the job done. Congress will only take the necessary tough steps to change course when driven to do so by an informed and determined electorate.

The Right Vote

The Establishment media regularly extoll the virtue of political compromise. However, no representative should compromise on fundamental principles, such as his or her oath to uphold the Constitution.

All the current talk about spending caps and reducing the deficit ignores the fact that many programs and departments must be eliminated entirely. Responsible government is not just a matter of what America can afford financially, but what freedom demands — a government made to respect the limits of a constitution.

Americans don’t need representatives who will work for the best deal politically possible today. Aside from being wrong, such deals are simply not favorable enough to prevent disaster. Instead, constituents should insist that their representative set the standard — create a rallying point — by voting to uphold the Constitution. Even if the representative stands alone.

A representative who honors his oath of office must vote “no” on any bill that contains significant unconstitutional spending, unless, as outlined below, the bill supports a serious, responsible effort to eliminate the unconstitutional programs.

A Just Rollback

Eliminating unconstitutional programs does not mean going cold turkey in all cases. As long as the federal government is not bankrupt, it should seek to honor its prior commitments.

Nevertheless, for many programs, virtual overnight removal of the unconstitutional function would be the wisest course. Once the political will has developed, swift, deep cuts are necessary so that the public can experience the boost to prosperity before Leftist propaganda can undermine the will.

For programs with multi-year authorizations, the most practical course might be just to let the program run out and not renew it. And with still others, such as Socialist Insecurity, the most equitable course would certainly be to respect prior taxpayer investments, while phasing out the program in favor of free-market alternatives.

Omnibus Appropriations

Freedom First Society strongly opposes the increasing resort of congressional leaders to last-minute omnibus or even “minibus” appropriations. Combining the constitutional with the unconstitutional, the necessary with the excessive, provides cover to too many congressmen who will argue that they had to accept the entire package in order to keep government running.

A congressman’s correct response to such legislation ought to be to vote no, even if that means the ultimate bill will be passed by a more liberal coalition. Political compromise with “socialists” simply won’t get us where we need to go. We need congressmen who will stand firm on principle and point the way — even when they are all alone — until an informed, determined electorate provides principled reinforcements or convinces incumbents to embrace the right course.

No Guarantees

It has rightly been said that the best predictor of an individual’s future behavior is often his past behavior. However, even this predictor is flawed.

If you are fortunate enough to have a congressman with an exemplary voting record, this does not guarantee you have a congressman you can trust. Perhaps your congressman has merely recognized what it takes to be reelected.

The problem is that most politicians are ambitious while the enticements and pressures from the Establishment are immense. (See again, “Contemporary Obstacles.”) It is not unheard of for a congressman who has amassed an excellent voting record to jump ship so to speak under different influences or when moving to higher office. Two examples illustrate the danger:

Richard Cheney compiled an outstanding voting record while representing conservative Wyoming (1979–1989). Yet in 1982, hidden from the view of his constituents, he became a member of the Insiders’ Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Trusted by the Insider Establishment, Cheney even served two terms as a director of the CFR.

Those Insider credentials would earn Cheney the position of secretary of defense and the vice presidency. Years later he would joke about deceiving Wyoming voters.

In 1980, a 28-year old David Dreier won a seat in the House of Representatives from Southern California following organized conservative efforts to expose the voting record of the incumbent liberal. Dreier quickly compiled one of the best voting records in Congress and came to be regarded as one of its most conservative members. Not surprisingly, Dreier was regularly invited to speak before conservative groups in his area.

In the mid-1980s, however, David Dreier’s performance began to change. Initially, he merely refrained from speaking against the internationalist agenda. Later, his voting record declined dramatically.

In 2002, a bipartisan task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Freedom House issued a report entitled “Enhancing U.S. Leadership at the United Nations.” Co-chairs for the task force were David Dreier (CFR, R-Calif.) and Lee Hamilton (CFR, D-Indiana). Dreier himself had been accepted into the Insiders’ CFR only months before.

David Dreier retired from Congress on January 3, 2013, and in May he was welcomed as a Distinguished Fellow of the Establishment’s liberal-left think-tank, the Brookings Institution. The president of Brookings welcoming David at the time was Bill Clinton’s one-time deputy secretary of state — globalist Strobe Talbott (CFR, Trilateral Commission).

Ultimately, the only way to assure good representative government is for an informed electorate to practice eternal vigilance.

Elections

Freedom First Society does not advocate the election or defeat of any incumbent or candidate for Congress. And FFS does not do so with this voting index. Instead, we seek to build the necessary foundation for a constitutionalist Congress that will restore America to its greatness. That foundation is a change in the political climate in the districts.

As one step toward achieving a constitutional Congress, Americans need to be much more involved with their representatives than just electing one and sending him to Washington with a blank check. We urge every adult to inform himself of the voting record of his or her representative and communicate approval or disapproval. We hope this index aids in that responsibility.

When an employee fails to live up to his or her responsibilities, there is a time for the employer to seek a replacement. However, the mission of Freedom First Society is not to tell Americans when that time has come with a particular representative.

We believe that the role we have adopted is much more fundamental and vital. Putting America back on its proper course will require that more Americans come to understand the wisdom of our founding principles, take them to heart, and understand the forces that are working to subvert those principles. Freedom First Society seeks to inform, organize, and activate such opinion molders.

As more informed opinion molders become influential in their communities, voters will naturally demand a higher standard of performance from their representatives in upholding proper principles.