Americans are fortunate to have a well-conceived, structured government defined by our Constitution. Essentially, it proscribes what federal government does. All undefined matters are left to the states and citizens. This raises an important, current issue. Is government doing what it is bound by law to do, and is it doing things that are illegal?

    If government is not adhering to the Constitution’s requirements, who does what, and how do we assure that laws are followed or changed in accordance with procedures established by the Constitution? These items are overwhelmingly important for U.S. citizens and industry because without adherence to law and structure, society fails and resulting chaos drives away all economic foundations that maintain the nation. That is the rationale and purpose for the following comments – a short refresher on how government works.

    Let’s take a simple issue first, such as appears in Article 2, which requires the President to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” The Supreme Court has repeatedly said that the President has no inherent authority to suspend enforcement of laws, particularly statutes (these being documented interpretation of laws in use). On taking office, every President must solemnly swear, as stated in the last paragraph of this article, “that I will faithfully execute the Office … and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” The Supreme Court (521 US 898) stated, “The Constitution does not leave to speculation who is to administer the laws enacted by Congress.” The current President, for example, has not compelled the Senate to produce a budget as is required by law (Congressional Budget Act of 1974) and has not compelled the Attorney General to comply with a subpoena issued by Congress to testify on topics such as smuggling guns into Mexico. These are just two examples of how the President is in violation of the law and Constitution.

    Next, let’s look at Article 1, which specifies what Congress shall do. First, the “separation of powers” principle is clearly expressed, which outlines what Congress can do when the executive branch violates law. But the most important feature appears in Section 9, Clause 7, which states, “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” Section 7, Clause 1 states simply that the power of the purse is held exclusively by the House of Representatives. There are really two powers here: to spend money or deny it being spent. Unless the House initiates and passes an appropriation law, with concurrence by the Senate, not a cent of money can be spent by government. This money is tax revenue because creation of (fiat) money by the independent Federal Reserve is outside federal control. To deny federal authority to spend any money only requires that the House not pass an appropriation or rescind any prior authorized spending. It is obvious that debt and spending problems rest solely with the House of Representatives.

    The federal law known as “The Anti-Deficiency Act of 1884” provides punishment for violations by “officers or employees of the U.S. government” and is clearly defined (see 31 USC Sections 1341- 42- 49- and 50). It is recommended by many that failures and deceit regarding these matters be addressed by various means. After all, enforcement provisions in the Constitution require “suspension from duty without pay or removal from office.” The current President has violated the Anti-Deficiency Act, and Congress has done nothing to prohibit expenditure of funds.

    Remedies initiated by the public can include impeachment of any elected official (federal, state or local). That is a laborious process and done so with purpose. America does not want or need a fickle and willy-nilly evaluation of governance. Another means to change the process is to amend the Constitution, which spells it out in the original document. Two-thirds of both houses of Congress can propose changes and submit them to the states for ratification without consideration by the President or Executive branch.

    States can nullify federal impositions, as is currently under way. Yet another option is for the states, at this time 38 of the 50, to call a Constitutional Convention to define changes required by the public and expressed through their state lawmakers. Although not as practical, any citizen can challenge federal lawbreaking in legal filings that wind their way through federal courts. 

    The bottom line is that American problems with federal government are twofold with an executive branch that has violated the Constitution and federal laws and with a Congress that has failed in responsibility. The Senate has acted illegally, and the House has abrogated its responsibilities by failing to act with any effect, which is (by definition) illegal.