Freedom First Society

Issue:  H.R. 2877, Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act of 2021.  Question: On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass (2/3 vote required).

Result:  Passed in House, 323 to 93, 2 present, 3 not voting.  GOP only scored.

Freedom First Society:  H.R. 2877 would have the Health and Human Services Dept. develop best practices for mental health interventions in our nation’s schools, a clearly unconstitutional federal role.

In The Federalist, #42, James Madison  explained the limited role being assigned to the federal government in the new Constitution:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce….

Advising states on how to address the mental health of the majority of students is clearly way beyond the function for which the states created the federal government.

We need congressmen who will respect their oath to support and defend the Constitution.   We need congressmen who reject the concept that the federal government with its deep pockets should address every problem is society.    We do not score the Democrats on this one, as undoubtedly many voted the right way for the wrong reason.

We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)

Bill Summary (Excerpts from House-passed Act):

The Public Health Service Act is amended by inserting after section 520G of such Act (42 U.S.C. 290bb-38) the following new section:


“(a) In General.–The Secretary [of Health and Human Services] shall identify and facilitate the development of best practices to assist elementary schools, secondary schools, and institutions of higher education in establishing and using behavioral intervention teams.”

Freedom First Society Analysis:   In arguing for the proposed expanded federal role,  Rep. Frank Palone, Jr. (D-NJ):  stated:

We know that three in four children between the ages of 3 and 17 with depression also have anxiety. Anxiety and depression are the top two mental health concerns among college students as well. Unfortunately, recent data found that over 80 percent of young people with mental health needs did not receive the care that they needed.

Such concern by Congress is an outrageous unconstitutional usurpation of its role as authorized by the Constitution.  But it builds on prior unconstitutional interventions, such as federal aid to education, so that the federal government now assumes responsibility for state and local government schools.

Rep. Pallone continued:

The champions of this legislation, Representatives Ferguson, Peters, Burgess, and Panetta, worked together to help provide these behavioral health prevention tools to schools and colleges around the country, and I applaud them for their bipartisan effort. [Emphasis added.]

The broad bipartisan support for this unconstitutional extension is a good illustration of why partisan politics is not the solution to out-of-control big-brother government.  Only an informed and determined electorate can bring Congress and the federal government under control.

Rep. Pallone was followed by Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), who stated:

Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 2877, the Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act of 2021 introduced by Representatives Ferguson [R-GA], Burgess [R-TX], Peters [D-CA], and Panetta [D-CA].

This important bill authorizes the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to develop best practices for establishing and using behavioral intervention teams in elementary schools, secondary schools, and institutions of higher education.

Behavioral intervention teams are multidisciplinary teams that support students’ mental health and wellness by identifying students experiencing stress, anxiety, or other behavioral disturbances, and conducting intervention and outreach to these students to help manage risk.

And the bill’s sponsor, Rep. A. Drew Ferguson IV (R-GA) naturally endorsed the legislation:

Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 2877, the BIG Act.

Without question, we have all seen how the mental health issues in America have been growing, and they have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The urgency to address this crisis has become more dire as we are seeing how fear, anxiety, financial problems, and particularly isolation have compounded these issues. We see this across the board but particularly with our young people.

We must tackle these issues head-on, and that is why I am honored to support the BIG Act.

This straightforward bill works to provide local communities and educational systems with the tools that they need to help identify mental health needs before it is too late.

As a healthcare provider, I can tell my colleagues that early intervention is vitally important, and putting teams together that recognize the needs and see the problems with students before it is too late is important.

The last thing that we want to see our students go through is the process of dropping out of school because of issues or problems with behavior or with their classmates. Most importantly, we never want to see them do harm to themselves or to others.

This bill provides the resources and the best practices from around the country in one site where school districts and different organizations can come together to put together the programs that will work best for them….

This is a bipartisan, bicameral bill. [Emphasis added.]

Rep. Jimmy Panetta, a co-sponsor on the Democrat side, represents a district along the central coast of California where Marxist revolutionaries have long been well organized.   Years earlier, his father Leon Panetta, who became Secretary of Defense under President Obama, represented that same area in Congress.

As an indication of the extent to which revolutionary influence has penetrated our government consider that in 1985, 14 left-wing Democrats sponsored a 20th Anniversary fund-raising gala for the outright Marxist Institute for Policy Studies.  Among the 14 were several Left-wing Democrats from California:  Rep. Leon Panetta, Rep. Ron Dellums, Rep. Don Edwards, and Rep. George Miller.

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