Is Harry Reid Speaker?
Earlier today, the House of Representatives passed legislation renewing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA is a noble-sounding bill (who could oppose stopping violence?) that involves the federal government in areas where it has no constitutional authority. After all, the United States Constitution creates only three federal crimes: treason, piracy, and counterfeiting. Outside of these three, all crime falls under the jurisdiction of state and local governments.
In addition, ever since it first passed Congress, concerns have been raised that those wishing to advance an unconstitutional political agenda, instead of actually helping victims of domestic violence, abuse VAWA programs.
Earlier this year, the Senate passed a VAWA renewal bill containing provisions that would have subjected non-Native Americans to tribal jurisdiction. Since tribal courts are considered sovereign and thus are not subject to the same constitutional rules governing Article Three courts, US citizens tried in a tribal court may not receive all the due process protections guaranteed them in the US Constitution. The Senate bill also provides funding for a number of programs which, while they may be well intentioned, are not authorized by the Constitution and should thus be funded by local or state governments.
Many members of the House GOP caucus objected to the Senate VAWA, some because they opposed the bill in principle, while others were concerned about some of the provisions in the Senate VAWA. The House Judiciary Committee created a bill that addressed some of the concerns of House Republicans.
However, there still were not enough members of House GOP caucuses willing to compromise their principles and vote for this bill. (This is quite a change, since as recently as three years ago, only a certain Congressman from Texas, and maybe three or four others, would have been the only no vote on a bill like this).
That should have ended the matter. However, the House leadership would rather throw the Constitutional rights of Americans–as well as the principled members of the House GOP caucus–under the bus then be called names by the Democrats and their allies in the statist media. So the leadership decided to pass the Senate version with Democrat votes.
This is the third time this year legislation passed the House with majority Democrat support–the first time, of course, was the fiscal cliff deal. The second time was the pork-laden “Hurricane Sandy Relief” bill. If this becomes a trend, people may start to wonder who really is Speaker of the House, John Boehner or Harry Reid?
Video of libertarian activist Julie Borowski explaining what is wrong with the Violence Against Woman Act: