by MIKE LEE & JEB HENSARLING | February 2, 2016 5:42 PM | www.NationalReview.com
“All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” — Article I, Section 1, U.S. Constitution
The federal government is broken. And while there is plenty of blame to go around, only Congress can fix it. We don’t mean this as an indictment of any one leader or party, because the dysfunction in Washington today has accreted over decades, under Houses, Senates, and presidents of every partisan combination, as well as the many different justices of the Supreme Court.
To be sure, not every misguided, dysfunctional federal policy is a direct act of Congress. But that points toward the root problem.
The stability and moral legitimacy of America’s governing institutions depend on a representative, transparent, and accountable Congress to make its laws. For years, however, Congress has delegated too much of its legislative authority to the executive branch, skirting the thankless work and ruthless accountability that Article 1 demands and taking up a new position as backseat drivers of the republic.
So today, Americans’ laws are increasingly written by people other than their representatives in the House and Senate, and via processes specifically designed to exclude public scrutiny and input. This arrangement benefits well-connected insiders who thrive in less-accountable modes of policymaking, but it does so at the expense of the American people — for whose freedom our system of separated powers was devised in the first place.
In short, we have moved from a nation governed by the rule of law to one governed by the rule of rulers and unelected, unaccountable regulators.