Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2010--Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 9, 2010
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. WICKER. I thank my colleague from Wyoming, Senator Barrasso, a practicing physician in his own right. I thank my friend for repeatedly coming to the floor and simply bringing the facts to the attention of our membership and to the American people.

This was an unpopular piece of legislation when we were considering it. We wasted most of a year when we should have been talking about job creation and the economy, talking about the overhaul of our entire health care system with the ObamaCare proposal. It was unpopular when it was enacted. It was unpopular when it was signed into law. We saw that in election after election, the two elections in New Jersey and Virginia. We saw it in spades in the Massachusetts election where it was the central issue. But this Congress persisted against the will of the American people.

Because of the facts as presented by Dr. Barrasso and also the facts that are coming to light as the people are finding out in their own lives with their own insurance policies, this law is even more unpopular and more unsatisfactory than it was at the very beginning, and it should be repealed lock, stock, and barrel. It should be defunded and it should be replaced by something market driven and something workable.

In an additional attempt to address this very wrongheaded piece of legislation, a few moments ago I introduced the Tenth Amendment Regulatory Reform Act. To remind my colleagues, the tenth amendment to the Constitution explicitly states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

This amendment, this part of the Bill of Rights, expressly limits the powers of the Federal Government for important reasons.

When we look back to the early days of the United States, it is clear that the Founding Fathers believed in a limited Federal Government, having just defeated a monarchy with near absolute power. Our Founders sought a different way of governing, one based on controlled size and scope.

Our Founding Fathers repeatedly stated their opposition to a Federal Government with expansive powers. In Federalist No. 45, James Madison wrote:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government are few and defined.

When have we heard that last?

He goes on to say:

Those which are to remain in State government are numerous and indefinite.

This may come as a surprise to people who have viewed the Congress of the United States in the past few years. Madison wrote, ``few and defined.'' Dispute this fact, congressional limits on the Federal Government are rarely enforced today. I hope to change this through my legislation.

Federal agencies routinely usurp the rights of States by promulgating regulations that are contrary to the spirit and the letter of the 10th amendment to the Constitution. The Code of Federal Regulations now totals an expansive 163,333 pages. While some of the rules contained in it are necessary, many of them simply are not--adding burdens, headaches, and costs for millions of Americans and forcing unnecessary Federal spending at a time when the United States borrows 40 cents for each dollar we spend. These rules and regulations also take power from States and they take power from individual Americans. This bill would allow States to challenge unconstitutional mandates before these mandates take effect.

Much of the new health care law gives unelected bureaucrats the power to write rules and regulations required to implement ObamaCare. Overall, the new health care law creates 159 bureaucracies, according to a study by the Joint Economic Council. Countless Federal regulations will have to be written to implement the law.

A requirement for Americans to purchase government-approved health insurance--a central piece of ObamaCare--explicitly oversteps the 10th amendment. Under no other circumstances do we force individuals to pay for something they may not want or cannot afford, simply because they are Americans, which is what this law attempts to do.

Many rules and regulations will be required to implement this provision. According to one analysis, the Internal Revenue Service will need to hire 16,000 new IRS employees to enforce this individual mandate. Each of those bureaucrats will be governed by agency rules created in the coming months and years, and we read in the paper today that it may even be decades before all of these rules will be created.

Once these regulations are written, it will again require costly and time-consuming court proceedings to overturn them. Instead of forcing the American people to wait for a remedy, we should have agencies address these problems at the outset. This bill would go a long way toward doing that. It would provide special standing for designated State government officials to dispute regulations issued by administration agencies attempting to implement new Federal laws or Presidential Executive orders. Under the legislation, any rule proposed by a Federal agency would be subject to constitutional challenges if certain State officials determine the rule infringes on powers reserved to the States under the 10th amendment.

States are already challenging the massive Federal takeover in court because of the mandates on both States and individuals. I am proud to say that 43 of the 50 States have either joined lawsuits or taken other official action to stop its unconstitutional provisions. This bill would give State officials another tool at their disposal to challenge the unconstitutional overreach of the Federal Government.

I urge my colleagues to join me in this legislation. It is late in this Congress, but there is another one looming with reinforcements coming from the people.

I appreciate my colleague allowing me to join him today in this discussion of a doctor's second opinion.

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Mr. WICKER. Well, the Senator is absolutely correct. And this coming from the New York Times in particular, this article is an astounding bit of information for the American people, and they need to know about it. I think the American people have the quaint idea that their elected officials, both in the executive branch and in the legislative branch, should be the center of power. I did not come to Washington to be powerful. But at least I have to stand before my constituents every so often and get their approval. What this article says is that the bureaucrats are now at the center of power because of this ObamaCare legislation and the financial services legislation.

We have enacted, over my vote and over the vote of the Senator from Wyoming, a 2,700-page health care overhaul. Yet we are told the main thing it does is empower bureaucrats and make them the decisionmakers. Certainly, if this is the result of this unfortunate piece of legislation, a Governor or a speaker of the house of representatives at the State level ought to be able to quickly and expeditiously go to Federal court and say: Wait a minute, this violates the 10th amendment. All we are saying is that they need a path to go quickly to the Federal courts and challenge this.

I am sure the Senator noticed this--this is just one example. In neighboring Bethesda, MD, this new ObamaCare law has resulted in 200 health regulators rushing to a new facility there and paying twice the fair market value. This is Uncle Sugar coming in. They can pay as much money as they want. So they pay twice the fair market value in rent, and they have taken over three floors of a suburban office building to begin getting started on actually writing the rules that will apply this Federal mandate to the people. It is amazing.

You know, actually, I will say this to my friend: When we talk about defunding the Federal Government, I would like for our Appropriations Committees, our investigative committees, both House and Senate, to look at how they got the right to pay twice the fair market value.

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Mr. WICKER. If I might add, this is really a new chapter in the history of the American Federal Government. According to the senior vice president of the American Benefits Council:

There has never been a period like what we are going through now, in terms of the sheer volume and complexity of rule-making.

My friend, this is unprecedented in American history. The scope, the cost, the magnitude of this legislation is unprecedented, according to the American Benefits Council. And the point of my bill is that that does violence to the Bill of Rights, it does violence to the intent of the Founding Fathers that the Federal Government be limited in its power and scope and that we leave most of the rights we are endowed with by our creators to the people and to the States themselves. So it is a great privilege to join my colleague today in making this point.

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