It was a year ago (March 2018) that this column addressed the need for Congressional term limits, something the public overwhelmingly endorses. In that piece and prior ones, it was cited that a Constitutional Convention seems to be the only practical way that reform matters such as limiting legislators time in office can be achieved.
These articles mentioned that this convocation of states can and should be called and only needs states’ coordination of the movement to do so. Now let us look at a few other reasons that are overlooked and largely unknown but command this action. I say this because, as I tell folks, my job in Washington is to watch government and report on how they screw things up.
Being blunt, Congress is often corrupt in what it does. Prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), members got health insurance through a Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). During the ACA mark-up, however, lawmakers inserted a provision (Section 1312(d)(3)(D)) that they and staffers may use a Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP). This places Congress in the position of being a small business, which means that all offices are treated as if they were private entities.
If a reader of this journal claimed to be a small business and is not, the penalty exacted by the U.S. Treasury is three times the amount of the transaction and/or 20 years in jail. This maneuver results in members of Congress getting a subsidy equivalent to 72% of FEHBP premiums. Never mind that the Office of Personnel Management has approved this fraud in spite of punishments discussed in 18 USC 1001. Look it up.
Only under recent public pressures has Congress even acknowledged exemption of themselves on numerous items. The Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 finally made both House and Senate answerable to paying social security and to civil rights, discrimination and harassment laws. I bet you never thought about what snakes in Congress have allowed for themselves and hidden from the public. Recently under way are investigations brought by Judicial Watch into collusion by State Department employees to funnel U.S. tax money to approximately 200 different groups associated with Open Society Foundations and intended to destabilize specific, friendly foreign governments, all done without approval by Congress of spending tax monies. All this is being overlooked by Congress.
America is enduring an increasingly corrupt Congress, one that needs to be stopped and reset on the path of operating in citizens’ interests. Business and industry has a vital interest in corrections to the Congressional distortions mentioned here. The public is disenchanted with increasing frequency. Since the mechanics of the Constitutional Convention are in place, it is time to use that avenue for a Constitutional Amendment – Number 28.
Believe it or not, the Congressional Reform Act of 2018 is several years old but has never received any vote by Congress. Three-fourths of the states must pass it in an agreed form, and it requires no Congressional actions and cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court. In various forms, here is what this amendment seeks:
- Term limits of elected members of the House of Representatives and Senate – 6 or 12 years total.
- No tenure and no pension for any member; salary only while serving.
- Members will participate in Social Security.
- Members may purchase their own retirement plans like all citizens.
- Congress may not vote itself a pay raise; pay will rise by lower of CPI or 2.5% annually.
- Congress loses its healthcare system and may participate in any citizen program.
- Members of Congress must equally abide by all laws that apply to U.S. citizens.
- All contracts with past and present members of Congress are void.
This 28th Amendment to the Constitution was formally proposed in August 2013 by then-Congressmen DeSantis (FL) and Salmon (AZ). Would you believe that Congress never brought the matter to discussion or vote? This matter is of vital importance to America and its future. As government competence seems to be in decline – and citizens’ disapproval is increasing – it is past time for corrective action. The suggestion to “straighten up and fly right” has national appeal and support. Let’s get on with it.