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Perspective: Keeping government in check

Perspective: Keeping government in check

March 15th, 2014 by U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemekyer, R-Mo. in News

In the last few weeks, folks in the 3rd Congressional District have become increasingly concerned about the apparent recklessness of the Obama administration regarding our Constitution and the rule of law.

Americans were promised more than five years ago that the current White House would be the most transparent in the history of the country. But when people hear more and more about the administration's failure to come clean on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeting conservative groups scandal, the Benghazi terrorist attack and the president's health care law - a clear disconnect develops.

After hearing from you, I recently supported legislation that would enhance transparency, accountability and certainty with regard to how your government operates by boosting responsible oversight of that very government.

The House of Representatives has sent to the Senate the Faithful Execution of the Law Act, a bill that requires the Attorney General to report to Congress regarding the enforcement of laws to include any instance in which the attorney general, U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) or any other federal officer establishes or implements a policy to refrain from enforcing or applying any federal statute, rule, regulation, program, policy, or other law.

This bill is an attempt to create more transparency in DOJ law enforcement decisions, which as many of you know, have been suspect for some time now.

We also passed the ENFORCE the Law Act, a bill that takes aim at the Obama Administration practice of refraining from enforcing and applying laws.

More specifically, the bill allows the House or Senate, or both chambers jointly, the ability to bring about civil actions against the executive branch should it find the president or any federal employee has established or implemented a formal or informal policy to refrain from enforcing, applying, following or administering federal laws. Much of this is based on the behavior of officials like the IRS' Lois Lerner, who refuses to divulge information under oath about the agency's targeting of conservative groups.

And finally the House passed the Water Rights Protection Act, a bipartisan bill that deals with recent attempts by the federal government to pilfer privately-held water rights.

This intrusion is creating all kinds of uncertainty and jeopardizing jobs in communities throughout the country. This bill would stop these land grabs and protect communities, businesses, recreation opportunities, farmers and ranchers as well as other individuals that rely on privately-held water rights for their livelihoods.

When President Obama began the year by boasting about using his pen and phone to get things done, it made people across this country concerned that the president had forgotten his oath of office requiring him to uphold the Constitution and faithfully execute the laws of our country. With the passage of these bills, we have tried to address some of your concerns that the White House is overreaching its authorities. You can be assured that I will continue to work with my colleagues to uphold the rule of law and hold this administration accountable for its actions.

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., represents the state's 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office can be reached at 573-635-7232.

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