Sen. Mike Lee drilled down on the crushing burden of regulatory compliance in the United States, implemented by unelected bureaucrats, during a presentation to hundreds of Freedom Fest attendees in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Lee opened with the story of John Wilkes. Wilkes became subject of a general search warrant after criticism of the governing authorities in the publication of North Briton Number 45, critical of King George III. “John Wilkes knew that his rights as an English citizen had been violated.”
“And so he fought, he fought back and he fought back knowing that the people were on his side. Eventually John Wilkes won his freedom.” Wilkes then brought civil suit against the ministers of King George III and won. “John Wilkes became a hero. His name became synonymous with the cause of liberty, not only throughout England, but also throughout America.”
The event, Lee noted, inspired the fourth amendment to the Constitution.
Lee touched on the Patriot Act and bulk data collection of phone records calling it analogous to the story of John Wilks.
He detailed the intended functions for each branch of government: executive, legislative and judicial. “Even if we have a President who happens to have a pen and a cell phone the executive branch doesn’t make the law,” Lee emphasized. As for the judicial branch, “it’s not their job to make the law either.”
“Both of these structural protections have been weakened.”
Lee keeps two stacks of documents in his office. One, the smaller, consists of all laws passed in Congress last year and is but a few inches tall. The other, eleven and a half feet tall, 80,000 pages long, consists of last year’s federal register. The federal register is the “cumulative index of all new regulations that are issued each year by our executive branch bureaucracy,” he described. “Legally binding documents.”
80,000 pages of law produced each year. These laws are produced not by men and women who are elected for a limited number of years to make laws; they’re issued by executive branch bureaucrats who don’t work for you, who can’t be fired by you and don’t really work for anyone, at least directly, who is subject to an election.
Citing article 1, section 1 of the Constitution Lee indicated the unconstitutional nature of such lawmaking.
“It will be of little avail to the American people that their laws may be written by men of their own choosing if those laws be so voluminous and complex that they cannot be read and understood by those subject to them,” Lee roughly quoted from James Madison’s great warning in Federalist 62.
Lee informed the audience that these bureaucratic, regulatory laws cost the American economy an estimated $2 trillion per year, some two-thirds of what the tax system costs. Everyone, but especially the poor and middle class are paying for this “back door, invisible tax” as goods and services become more expensive and wages are diminished he said.
He then introduced the REINS Act (Regulations In Need of Scrutiny) as a solution. The Act would require “any time an executive branch bureaucracy issues a new major rule, a new major piece of quasi-legislative text that governs the people, it cannot, it will not, it must not, it may not take effect unless both houses of Congress first act, pass it affirmatively into law and it gets signed into law by the President.”
Lee then launched into a series of “Don’t settle” and “Expect” statements:
My fellow Americans, you’ve been asked repeatedly by your government in Washington to simply settle, to expect less from your government in Washington. You’ve been asked to settle for anemic economic growth of 1 percent or even less. You’ve been asked to simply accept that this is the new normal, to just accept a government in Washington that doesn’t follow the rules and that punts the task of lawmaking to unelected bureaucrats. I’m here to ask you, to invite you, to challenge you, do not accept less, do not settle. It is not time to expect less, it is time to expect more.
In short, don’t settle for a President who wants to make law with a pen and a cell phone. Expect that Congress does its own job.
Don’t settle for a national government that projects overbearance and hyperintrusiveness at home and weakness abroad. Expect a government that does what it is supposed to do and leaves the other things alone.
Don’t settle for trillion dollar annual deficits, expect balanced budgets.
Don’t settle for a government that thinks it’s its job to spy on you, to lie to you, to target you for its own nefarious, partisan, political purposes.
Expect a government that will respect you, honor your constitutional rights and honor your divine right, your divinely granted right as a son or daughter of God to live in peace and to live free from excessive government intrusion.
Don’t settle for the kind of government that says if there is a constitutional defect we will let the courts find that out. Expect your elected senators and representatives to zealously defend the Constitution with every single vote they cast.
It is time, my fellow Americans, to expect more. It is time to expect freedom.
Breitbart News’ Raheem Kassam interviewed Senator Lee at at Freedom Fest. You can listen below. He also shared with the Breitbart News team that he proudly display’s the Breitbart News app on his cell phone’s home screen and references it regularly.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana