Thursday, June 16, 2016

CONYERS, COHEN & JOHNSON: GOP’S So-Called “Better Way” Is The Wrong Way For Americans


Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Democrats want to address the real problems facing our Nation today by: 

  • Preventing Gun Violence: Congress can longer stand idly by while our communities are ravaged by gun violence. Americans should feel safe whether attending school, their place of worship, in their movie theaters or out in their communities.

  • Combating Hate Crimes: No American should live in fear of being a target of violence because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability or sex.  

  • Strengthening Voting Rights: States across the Nation have implemented laws that disenfranchise voters and impede their ability to have their voices heard. Every American deserves equal access to the ballot box.

  • Relieving Crushing Student Loan Debt: The class of 2015 graduated with the most student loan debt in U.S. history. Overwhelming student loan debt is preventing young Americans from purchasing homes, starting families, and contributing to our economy.

  • Helping American Consumers: Companies should not be able to force Americans to forego their rights to seek legal redress in the courts.

However, House Judiciary Republicans have not held a single hearing on these issues this Congress. Instead, they would rather focus on protecting corporate interests and their own political agenda. Today, Speaker Ryan’s Task Force on Restoring Constitutional Authority issued a report as part of the so-called “Better Way” agenda.  House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Ranking Member Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (D-GA) released the following statements in response to the report:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“For the second time in two days, House Republicans have issued a report consisting mostly of recycled and long-discredited proposals clearly intended to undermine Federal agencies’ ability to protect public health and safety and to open the door to ideologically-motivated lawsuits against the Executive Branch, among other things,” said Congressman Conyers. “Congress delegated broad authority to agencies because they have the expertise to develop highly technical regulations that sometimes require years of study which Congress lacks the time and resources to do on its own.  This is why the Supreme Court has long recognized that the Constitution allows Congress to obtain the assistance of the other branches of government, including the Executive Branch, in implementing the laws that Congress passes.”

Congressman Conyers continued, “While there are areas where Congress has failed to assert itself sufficiently -- such as the President’s exercise of war powers -- this report does little to address those concerns.  Rather, this report simply recycles the same old pro-corporate, anti-consumer proposals that House Republicans have been pushing for decades, masked as constitutional issues.”

“Today’s report on the so-called “A Better Way: The Constitution” is mostly a re-hash of meritless proposals that, among other things, invite frivolous lawsuits by Congress against the President over routine policy debates and hamstring the ability of agencies to do the critical job of ensuring the health, safety, and rights of the American people that Congress tasked them with doing,” said Congressman Cohen.  “In hearing after hearing before the Judiciary Committee, House Republicans have sought to constitutionalize what are essentially policy and political disputes.  Really, this reflects the fact that they do not have the votes to achieve their policy ends through the political process.  And that is because most Americans like the kind of protections for the environment, civil rights, consumer products, and workplace safety that House Republicans have repeatedly tried to undermine.”

“Because dismantling our government’s ability to provide for the public interest is apparently not enough, Republicans now embark on a dangerous path to rig the courts and regulatory system against the public by abolishing longstanding Supreme Court precedent that is fundamental to our legal tradition and upholding the very rights established by both the Constitution and Congress,” Congressman Johnson stated. “These so-called “solutions” appear to come straight from the Koch brothers’ wish list. Yet another example of the corporate-welfare policies that Republicans so eagerly pursue, there is little doubt that the result of this crony-capitalist agenda would be a deep betrayal of our constitutional and statutory protections, practically guaranteeing a rigged system by which corporate misconduct could seldom be held accountable.”

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