| August 6, 2012

Fears, Sullivan, Lankford: 'Power of the purse' crucial to maintaining freedom

Last year in The Washington Times (“Power of the purse can ‘redress…every grievance’”), OCPA distinguished fellow J. Rufus Fears explained that “the power of the purse was crucial to maintaining freedom.”

Hence the very important section establishing that all bills of revenue must originate in the House of Representatives. And in the Federalist, that great work of political thought that grew out of the ratification debates, when James Madison was explaining the role of the House of Representatives, he put particular focus on the power of the purse as a means of restraining the other branches of government.

He wrote in Federalist 58, “This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.” …

One of history’s enduring lessons is that a person, or a country, cannot live with a tremendous debt for a long period of time. We seem to be unwilling to accept that economic law. However, there still is time. We still have the opportunity to put our financial house in order and pay off our debt. But we must cut government spending, cut it again, and then cut it some more. The road to fiscal responsibility runs directly through the House of Representatives.

In January of this year, Dr. Fears repeated these themes when he was invited to address several members of Congress in our nation’s capital. It appears that perhaps someone was listening, because on July 18, no fewer than 127 members of Congress, led by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-06) and Congressman Jim Jordan (OH-04), wrote to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor urging them not to advance any legislation that provides or allows funds to implement the president’s health-overhaul law.

Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor,

We are outraged by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to rewrite and largely uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”), as we know you are as well. And we know that our sentiments are in line with the vast majority of Americans who believe that healthcare should be controlled by patients and doctors, not by the government.

We appreciate your willingness to schedule a vote on the full repeal of ObamaCare. We should continue efforts to repeal the law in its entirety this year, next year, and until we are successful. However, in the meantime, there is more we can do in Congress.

Since much of the implementation of ObamaCare is a function of the discretionary appropriations process, and since most of the citizens we represent believe that ObamaCare should never go into effect, we urge you not to bring to the House floor in the 112th Congress any legislation that provides or allows funds to implement ObamaCare through the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Health and Human Services, or any other federal entity. We also urge you to take legislative steps necessary to immediately rescind all ObamaCare-implementation funds.

In Federalist No. 58, James Madison wrote that the “power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon ... for obtaining a redress of every grievance…” We thank you for your consideration and look forward to working closely with you to address defunding one of the largest grievances in our time and to restore patient centered healthcare in America.

From the Oklahoma delegation, John Sullivan (OK-1) and James Lankford (OK-5) signed the letter.

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