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Paul, Coburn Pursuing Extremist Law That Could Handicap Workplace Protections

Paul Coburn

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A new bill being proposed by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) would make it virtually impossible for Congress to create any new laws that seek to improve workplace conditions.

36 Senators, over three-qaurters of the Senate Republican Caucus, have signed onto the Enumerated Powers Act of 2013. It would harken Congress’ powers back to a time when child labor laws were viewed as constitutional.  Sen. Paul ran on the campaign promise of enacting such a law.  

In their statement announcing the bill, The Brothers Afront describe their intentions:

The Enumerated Powers Act of 2013 does the following:

1)  Requires each Act of Congress, bill, resolution, conference report and amendment to “contain a concise explanation of the specific authority in the Constitution” that is the basis for its enactment.

2)  States any legislation that abolishes a Federal activity, spending or overall power may cite the 9th or 10th Amendments to the Constitution.

3)  Prohibits the use of the Commerce Clause, except for “the regulation of the buying and selling of goods or services, or the transporting for those purposes, across boundaries with foreign nations, across State lines, or with Indian tribes…”

4)  Allows a point of order to be raised in either House of Congress for bills that fail to cite constitutional authority.

5)  Cites the constitutional authority to enact the Enumerated Powers Act, which falls under Article I, Section 5, Clause 2 of the Constitution, allowing each House to determine the rules of its proceedings.

The bill follows the lead of several other Tea Party initiatives that aim to render the government unable to perform its job. This Gilded Age philosophy, where business is unregulated at the expense of workers, is not a surprise coming from Coburn and Paul.

While the bill will not go into effect retroactively if passed, it will allow for Congress to enact a procedural objection against any new law that does not meet the standards of the Enumerated Powers Act of 2013.

According to Think Progress:

Such an objection could be used to block any most attempts to enact new workplace laws — such as a bill increasing the national minimum wage or a bill prohibiting all employers from firing workers because they are gay. Similarly, Coburn and Paul’s bill could permanently entrench decisions by the conservative Roberts Court rolling back existing protections for workers — such as a recent decision shielding many employers whose senior employees engage in sexual harassment.

The proposed bill (H.R. 450) is gaining support from extreme groups who want to see a “constitutional showdown” in Congress.  These groups include Freedom21, which is asking its members to force their congressman’s hand through continuous pestering.  The video below shows you the, um, kind of support such a law is garnering:

Other political groups supporting H.R. 450 are Downsize D.C., The Tenth Amendment Center, The Heritage Foundation and other “liberty” first finaglers.  

The Senators who have signed onto the Enumerated Powers Act of 2013 include:

Senators Ayotte (R-NH), Barrasso (R-WY), Blunt (R-MO), Boozman (R-AR), Burr (R-NC), Chambliss (R-GA), Coats (R-IN), Corker (R-TN), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), Cruz (R-TX), Enzi (R-WY), Fischer (R-NE), Flake (R-AZ), Graham (R-SC), Grassley (R-IA), Hatch (R-UT), Heller (R-NV), Inhofe (R-OK), Isakson (R-GA), Johnson (R-WI), Lee (R-UT), McCain (R-AZ), McConnell (R-KY), Moran (R-KS), Risch (R-ID), Roberts (R-KS), Rubio (R-FL), Scott (R-SC), Sessions (R-AL), Thune (R-SD), Toomey (R-PA), Vitter (R-LA), and Wicker (R-MS).


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