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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Bruce Walker
Bio: Bruce Walker
Date:  January 21, 2006
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Topic category:  Other/General

A New Contract With America

The response of Democrats to the “atmosphere of corruption” in Washington should be met directly and with serious, specific and public counter-proposals. The recent legislative proposals of Republicans are too technical, too timid and not political enough. What is required, instead, is a new Contract With America, like the political document presented twelve years ago.

The response of Democrats to the “atmosphere of corruption” in Washington should be met directly and with serious, specific and public counter-proposals.  The recent legislative proposals of Republicans are too technical, too timid and not political enough.  What is required, instead, is a new Contract With America, like the political document presented twelve years ago. 

What if Democrats begin to mock the Contract With America, saying that it did not work?  The Republican response is easy:  it did work.  House Republicans did every single thing promised in the Contract With America.  In fact, Republicans should republish those ten pointed with a watermark over those indicating the exact day, and perhaps minute, those things were done.

Moreover, on many of the internal House reforms, Republicans not only enacted the procedural reform, but did so on the very first day that they gained control of the House.  Beyond that, several of these reforms – which House Democrats could have enacted during the forty-six uninterrupted period of their rule – received not just overwhelming Republican votes but also overwhelming Democrat votes.  In other words, House Democrats agreed that the Republican reforms were needed and voted for them. 

What should the New Contract With America provide?   It should provide that every member of Congress who signs on to the ten reforms should not only support bringing the measure up for a vote within the first one hundred days of the next session, but that the legislator will vote to enact the reform.  Moreover, as a twist, Republicans should publish the New Contract With America in many places and make the language very simple and direct.  What should be in this political manifesto?  Here are some ideas.

First, support a constitutional amendment to limit the length of time that any federal legislator can serve in Congress to twelve years.  That would translate into two terms in the Senate or six terms in the House of Representatives or some combination of service.  Term limits remains a popular measure, and House Republicans elected in 1994 nearly all honored their three term pledge (which is the only reason the House is not more strongly Republican now.)

Second, amend House and Senate rules so that no member of Congress can receive or can solicit campaign contributions from anyone except a registered voter in his state or congressional district.  This would prevent outside funds from any source in a campaign, as well as preventing any large organization – corporations, labor unions, campaign committees – from influencing campaigns.

Third, amend House and Senate rules so that no member of Congress or their spouse can consort with or receive contributions from convicts or people who are hiding from the law.  If anyone says that this is silly or improbable, just consider the number of felons pardoned by Hillary’s husband who contributed to the Clinton campaign.

Fourth, enact a federal law requiring that after the next census in 2010, all legislative districts – congressional districts, state legislative districts, city council districts or any other – be compact, connected and with as the same number of registered voters in one political party as the other.

Fifth, require that members of Congress who not make material public statements which are not true and which they know or should know is not true.  Although Congress can make no law abridging freedom of speech – and it should not – it can adopt internal rules that punish federal legislators that go around blatantly lying in speeches.  What sanction should the House and Senate rules provide?  Any member of Congress who violates this rule shall be:  (1) determined to have deliberately misled the voters; (2) deprived of all committee assignments; and (3) have staff working for the legislator reduced by half.  Provide an alternative for such offending legislators that if they publicly acknowledge their dishonesty and apologize, then the sanctions may be lifted.

Sixth, all members of Congress shall fully disclose all tax records, all military records, and all criminal records to the public.  If this rule had been in effect in 2004, then Senator Kerry would have been compelled long before running to release his military records.  The sanctions would be a finding that the member:  (1) was hiding facts from the voters; (2) deprived of committee memberships; and (3) have staff working for the legislator reduced by half.

Seventh, end all congressional earmarks.  This would go beyond simply requiring that all earmarks be voted on as a floor amendment, but rather by statute amend the budget process itself so that earmarks were prohibited entirely.  This would not prevent a completely separate appropriations bill from providing funding for a particular and immediate need, like a bill to provide aid for natural disasters like Katrina or to fund a new Department of Homeland Security, but it would require all such bills to be addressed by the entire body of both houses openly.

Eighth, provide federally funded for a serious of three debates between the two major party candidates on prime time channels before each general election, with each candidate choosing two people who would pick a moderator and providing each candidates with an equal number of participants to attend the debates.  If a candidate declines, then provide the other candidate the time alone.  Also provide that the rule against making false statements applies here too.

Ninth, require that no member of Congress either during their term in Congress or for five years thereafter either practice law or be employed as a lobbyist.  Lobbying is a fairly easy change, but practicing law (by former members of Congress) is often simply another way of lobbying.  Those who make the laws should not quickly be allowed to take advantage professionally of those changes in law.

Tenth, provide that all these rules shall not only apply to current members of Congress but to candidates running for office if they are elected.  So, a candidate who consorts with criminals and receives contributions from them in receiving office shall be given no committee assignment and have only have the staff as other federal legislators.  In the cases of flagrant violations, the House or the Senate shall be require to deny that elected member a seat (which the Constitution allows those bodies to do.)

These are radical reforms.  But they are clearly needed reforms which would transform Washington for the better.  None of the reforms are controversial in terms of voters opposing the reform – each would be enormously popular – and these could, and should, be the hammer hit every single day from the day of adoption until election day.  The “corruption” issue would be flipped from a vulnerability to a powerful w

Bruce Walker

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Biography - Bruce Walker

Bruce Walker has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990. He is a regular contributor to WebCommentary, Conservative Truth, American Daily, Enter Stage Right, Intellectual Conservative, NewsByUs and MenÕs News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.


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