GOP leadership election brings power of purse to forefront

The country owes Rep. Peter Roskam Peter James RoskamFeehery: How Republicans can win back the suburbs Ex-GOP Rep. Roskam joins lobbying firm Blue states angry over SALT cap should give fiscal sobriety a try MORE (R-Ill.) a giant thank-you.

Taking the initiative and forcing a meeting amongst his House Republican colleagues, Roskam reportedly laid out a vision where Congress reassert its Article One constitutional authority.

Reminding his colleagues about the Obama administration's usurpation of the congressional power of the purse and lawmaking power, Roskam set the stage for a robust internal debate amongst contenders for at least three House leadership positions about how they would make Congress more than a red-headed stepchild to the president (confession – I am a redheaded stepchild, so it is a figure of speech and not ginger hate).


Now that we are past the short-term continuing resolution to fund the federal government for the next two months, Congress will have the opportunity to act on Roskam's entreaty. Rather than giving Obama a blank check, Congress can and should create line by line funding authorizations that limit the president's capacity to implement his regulatory overreaches for most of the remainder of his time in office.

The examples of actions that can be taken are too numerous to mention them all, but here are four that would be a good starting point.

Specifically, prohibit the administration from implementing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision that effectively dismantles the franchise business model that has opened the doors to entrepreneurship to millions of Americans. Doing the bidding of a major Democratic Party donor, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the NLRB has ruled that the parent corporation should be liable for alleged workplace violations that occur in the local small business. The goal of the SEIU is to organize franchises nationally and pad their coffers. The effect of the ruling would be to turn these small-business dreamers into glorified employees as their corporate partners become their overlords to avoid liability. The answer is that Congress should dictate through their funding that the NLRB cannot implement the rule, buying a year for cooler heads to prevail.

On the environmental front, there are many opportunities for defunding specific onerous Obama administration activity; one easy one would be to defund all sue-and-settle actions. Rep. Lynn WestmorelandLeon (Lynn) Acton WestmorelandJuan Williams: GOP to blame for civility's breakdown Veteran GOP lawmaker Westmoreland to retire GOP hits Clinton on email setup during Benghazi hearing MORE (R-Ga.) has taken the lead on this issue with language that would stop the Obama administration from entering into cozy legal deals with radical environmental groups of whom outgoing executive branch employees will likely ask for jobs in the months ahead. The way sue and settle works is that, first, an environmental group sues the administration over some action they want taken. The administration then concedes the point legally, and a binding legal agreement is drafted. When it is done, the law is changed without the bother of legislative or even normal regulatory action, and the environmental group gets paid money for their diligence in holding the government accountable. Westmoreland would put an end to this practice until the next fiscal year runs out.

The administration is still trying to give away the Internet, and while the defunding of that effort lasted for the past year, it likely expired on Sept. 30. Whether the Obama administration efforts remain defunded or not, Congress should extend it through the remainder of the 2015 fiscal year. The effort to defund is led by Rep. Sean DuffySean DuffyOn The Money: Trump seeks to shift spotlight from impeachment to economy | Appropriators agree to Dec. 20 funding deadline | New study says tariffs threaten 1.5M jobs Ex-Rep. Duffy to join lobbying firm BGR Trump's defenders are running out of options MORE (R-Wis.) and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators at White House Senators confirm Erdoğan played 'propaganda' video in White House meeting MORE (R-Texas) and passed the House of Representatives as part of its funding of the Department of Commerce earlier this year.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) has been very effective in getting defunding language passed through the House of Representatives, most notably leading the charge on stopping the funding to implement Obama's Department of Housing and Urban Development regulation that sets the stage for the federal government to override local zoning ordinances and demand that low-income housing high rises be built in the middle of middle-class neighborhoods.

Roskam has issued the clarion call for Congress to stand up for its authority against an administration that has used its pen and phone to shred the Constitution. His colleagues have heard the message. They have both the tools and the right timing to return Congress to a co-equal branch of government; all they need is leadership with the backbone to make it happen.

Hopefully, the Republican conference therapy session that is occurring during the leadership elections will serve as the impetus for a renewed vigor and determination from whomever is elected to use the power of the purse to rein in Obama's last-gasp efforts to fundamentally transform our great nation.

If it does, a little-known congressman from Illinois will be the one who reignited Congress's assertion of its Article One authority, and for that, I say, thank you, Congressman Roskam.

Manning is president of Americans for Limited Government.