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Posts Tagged ‘seventeeth amendment’


When an individual decides to run for the House, the first challenge that comes to mind is “I need money”. The second challenge that comes to mind is “Where can I get it”? If you have a little free time, do a little research on your Congressional Representatives. Odds are good that they received more money in donations from political action committees and individuals located outside their district, than from inside. This means their virtual constituency extends across the nation and maybe into foreign countries. How can any representative to Congress adequately focus on the needs of their local constituents, when they are beholden to so many outside their constituency for so much?

We continually hear how the special interests have taken over Congress. They have! Is it the candidate’s fault – No! Yes we have our share of unethical or even criminal candidates, but for the most part they are good people who know the other guy will raise oodles of money from the special interests, and they know that unless they raise as much, they have no chance to get elected. So the good people pander outside the district to raise money. Mostly the problem is the system and not the candidate. The fix is relatively simple.

Can we only allow fund raising from individuals whose primary residence is located in the district of the candidate? Unless there was an amendment to our Constitution, court challenges would be made that the rule violates the first amendment. If the elected folks in Congress really wanted to stop this carousel of political favors, fund raising, and special interests, they could propose a constitutional amendment to fix this problem forever. It might simply state that “Candidates for The House of Representatives, may accept campaign contributions of gifts in kind – media, money, personal property or real property only from individual Citizens of the United States, who primarily reside in the district the recipient candidate would serve, if elected. A candidate deemed to have failed to abide by this amendment would forfeit his or her seat in the House, upon a formal challenge brought to the House by the candidate’s opponent or opponents”

The Senate suffers the same special interest problem, but the fix there is different. The only special interest the Senate should serve is the State they represent. The Senate years ago lost its way as the Upper House of Congress representing the interests of the States. The solution here is straightforward, repeal the Seventeenth Amendment. Read more at: https://brokengovernment.wordpress.com/2008/05/02/1913-was-the-true-birth-of-our-federal-government/

Of course, the repeal amendment would have to right wrongs the Nation tried to correct with the Seventeeth. The repeal amendment, would have to control the method of recall of the Senator. It should require a super majority vote in each House of the state legislature and the concurrence of the state’s governor.

Follow this recipe and the special interest grip on Congress would be broken.

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Ever wonder why the Federal Government has grown so large, why we have Federal Departments that duplicate States Agencies, like the $66 Billion annual budget of the Department of Education? Have you ever wondered why small States have disproportionate representation -of one person one vote? Why Wyoming has two Senators and California has two Senators? Why do states have unfunded mandates?

When this country was founded it was no coincidence that is was named The United States of America. It was not named the People’s Republic of America. The States were to provide for the laws and services required of government and the Federal Government was required to provide the necessary laws to protect the States (common defense), regulate commerce and trade between States, and provide for a consistent and standardized basic set of rights for all people of all these United States. So why then has this changed and do we look to Washington D.C. to solve not only our national but also our local problems? States Rights were so important that we even fought a Civil War over them. Just when did the States finally lose their battle to be an integral part of this nation’s guiding force and be an equal partner with the Federal Government?

Well, it was 1913! In 1913, the States abdicated their role as an equal partner with the Federal Government by ratifying the Seventeenth Amendment. This Amendment replaced a provision in Article 1, Section 3, which stated: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof,for six years; and each Senator shall have one Vote…”

Upon ratification in 1913, the Senate of the United States was now responsible only to the people by direct election and no longer were they responsible to the Legislature of their respective States. The direct pandering to the people had begun. No longer was the Senate the so called upper house with responsibility to the States. It was now on a par with the people’s house, The House of Representatives, and with all the requisite pandering and special interests, but with the exception that they were in office for six years instead of two and one third of the Senate was up for election every two years.

In 1913, the people of this nation lost a valuable check and balance which inhibited the Federal Government from growing out of control. If you carefully look at the Constitution, you will find that the founders set up checks and balances over three branches of the Federal Government for the States.

  • The Senate must provide advice and consent on all Executive appointees and this includes Judicial appointees, notably the Supreme Court and Federal inferior Courts – circuit courts, etc.
  • The Senate must ratify all treaties submitted by the Executive Branch, giving the States some control over foreign affairs.
  • The Senate must agree with the House to pass legislation and sits as the jury in matters of impeachment.

The Seventeenth Amendment effectively neutralized the power of the States to control the Federal Government. Read more on why some think the Seventeenth Amendment should be repealed at http://www.liberty-ca.org/friendsforamerica.org.htm. (Not an endorsement of their site, just an opportunity to read what they have to say on the matter.)

Was the Seventeenth Amendment a good thing – I don’t believe so. Let me give one example. Today Congress regularly provides mandates for the States, called unfunded mandates, to spend money on education initiatives, managing illegal alien populations, or supporting medical care for those with no medical coverage, at local hospitals, etc. Now that the Senate is not responsible to the States, it regularly agrees with the House on these mandates, as the alternative would be Federally funded programs requiring an increase in taxes. Instead an unfunded mandate requires the States to increase taxes and your Congressional Representative can say that they have not increased taxes. This ill advised Amendment has fostered an uncontrolled, unchecked runaway Federal Government in size and power.

If you want real change from your Congress, push for repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment. Additional reading: http://www.independent.org/publications/article.asp?id=360

Added May 21, 2008: read – Barn Stable Patriot

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