- Congress Set to Abdicate
- In the guise of fighting terrorism, the
Congress is rushing through legislation that would delegate to the executive
branch unprecedented (and unconstitutional) powers.
- On Wednesday, May 19th at a hearing by
the House Commerce Health and Environmental Sub-committee, legislation
drafted by the administration was discussed. The bill deals with hazardous
materials and both accidental catastrophic spills and those caused by terrorism.
The bill has been introduced by Republican (!) Representative Thomas Bliley
of Virginia. The Republican leadership has scheduled the legislation to
be cleared through the House and Senate for the president's signature by
- Among other things, the legislation would:
- 1.. Preempt (strike down) all state and
local laws on availability of government records to the public.
- 2.. Preempt all state and local Freedom
of Information Acts (FOIA'S)
- 3.. Give the executive branch the authority
to decide which requests for information from the federal government it
- 4.. Give the executive branch the authority
to issue 'guidelines' as well as criminal penalties for violation of those
- 5.. Prohibit the public from obtaining
(in either written or electronic form) information about 'offsite consequences'
of accidental catastrophic chemical incidents as well as those that might
be caused by terrorists.
- 6.. Allow the executive branch to establish
(by executive order) criminal penalties for any state or local official
who allows such information to reach the public in printed or electronic
form. 7.. Prohibits even federal officials from making such information
available on the internet.
- Additionally, Congress has given the
authority to the president to write 'privacy' laws if congress does not
come up with acceptable legislation by August of this year. The president
mentioned this in his public speech about his 'privacy' agenda. My congressional
representative verified that congress had indeed given him that authority.
Her staff is in the process of hunting down the specific legislation that
granted that unconstitutional power.
- Undoubtedly this same tactic is being
used by the administration in other areas of proposed legislation. We must
mount a massive protest to the congress to stop this dangerous and unconstitutional
delegation of power to the executive branch.
- Please forward this piece to every E-mail
address you have. Then write your representative in congress and both of
your senators expressing your outrage that they would even consider such
actions. This is not a partisan issue. Both Republicans and Democrats on
the sub-committee expressed 'reservations' about some of the provisions.
However the Republican leadership seems determined to rush the bill through
the House and Senate.
- If we lose this one, then congress has
become irrelevant! Permission is granted to reproduce in its entirety or
call Jim Rarey at (734) 942-7667