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For those who don't know, Tom Coburn and Rand Paul have introduced one of the most odious bills in Senate history. The "Enumerated Powers Act," which counts 36 Republican Senators--three-fourths of the GOP caucus--as sponsors, would require any bill introduced in Congress to cite the constitutional authority Congress has to act in that particular realm. However, it would have the effect of writing a completely discredited interpretation of the Constitution into law. One provision would only allow the Commerce Clause to be used to regulate interstate transport of goods--which would have the effect of nullifying any future attempts to protect workers' rights (existing laws would not be affected) and may make it impossible to regulate business at all. Another provision, as I and several others read it, would effectively neuter the Necessary and Proper Clause by barring it from being cited as "constitutional authority." At the very least, it could potentially require common-sense legislation to be enacted via the cumbersome process of a constitutional amendment. At worst, as CroneWit suggested in a comment, it could make it all but impossible for Congress to pass ANY laws to govern the country. Read my previous posts about this crazy bill here and here. Also, read the full text of the bill at the GPO or Thomas.
Most of us here are educated enough to know that while this bill may be a wet dream for teabaggers and tenthers, it's nothing short of a disaster for the rest of us. This bill is so loony that in a sane world, it would hand us the 2014 midterms on a platter. The question is obvious--what talking points do we use to let low-information voters know this bill is a loser? I can think of a few off the top of my head. For instance, this bill could make it impossible to raise the minimum wage or update workplace safety laws. Additionally, if this bill had already been the law of the land, we probably would have minimal (if any) regulation of the financial services industry.
It cannot be stated enough--three-fourths of the Republican Senate caucus, including almost the entire Republican Senate leadership, have signed on to this monstrosity. If we play this right, we can really beat the GOP over the head with this. But if we're going to do it, we need to start now.