Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) have launched a new project to restore the powers of Congress that have slowly been legislated away over the past 80 years. They called in to The Glenn Beck Program on Thursday to explain what it's all about.
"We formed the Article 1 Project for the purpose of reinvigorating Congress' power," Sen. Lee said. "Congress over the last 80 years has gradually delegated away almost all of its legislative power, to the point now where upwards of 95 percent of our laws are now made by executive branch bureaucrats. And as hard-working and well-intentioned and well-educated and highly specialized as these people might be, they don't work for us. We can't fire them. They're not elected. They're not even accountable to anyone who is elected. So we're trying to turn that around. We're trying to put the power back into the hands of people, specifically back in the hands of the people's elected representatives."
Glenn asked Sen. Lee to provide an example of how this would impact the average person's life.
"Don't talk to me about the debt, most people -- $19 trillion --- they know that," Glenn said. "But it doesn't affect their life day to day. How will this affect people's lives today?"
"If we succeed, everything Americans buy has a chance of becoming more affordable," Sen. Lee said. "The federal regulations that we have to comply with every year cost the American economy $2 trillion a year. And far from being absorbed by wealthy corporations or wealthy individuals, these are the kinds of costs that end up getting passed downstream. It's kind of a backdoor invisible, very regressive tax that disproportionately affects the poor and middle class of America, such that everything we buy, every good, every service that we purchase in the economy, is more expensive because of these regulations."
Just launched today, the project is backed by 10 principled conservatives on the Senate and House side --- and hopefully more soon.
Learn more about the Article I Project on Facebook.
Listen to this segment below:
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:
GLENN: Oh, my gosh. People I work -- that work on this show are so needy, all the time.
PAT: Are needy?
PAT: I'm not needy at all in any way.
GLENN: You're like, I want Ted Cruz on.
PAT: Yes, I do. I want Ted Cruz on.
GLENN: How about taking his best friend?
PAT: But I also do want Mike Lee on.
GLENN: Take his best friend.
PAT: And Jeb Hensarling. Both of them --
GLENN: What a surprise. They're both on. I have both of them on.
PAT: Oh, my gosh. What an amazing coincidence.
GLENN: Okay. So there's something going on in Congress. It's called the Restoring Regulatory Accountability Act. What this is --
PAT: It's my favorite act of all time.
GLENN: Listen to this. This is a crazy concept. We in Congress and in the Senate would like our power reinstated. It's crazy.
PAT: Oh, you power-hungry pigs.
GLENN: I know. I know. And that's coming from somebody who is really needy.
We have Jeb Hensarling on from Texas. Mike Lee from Utah. And welcome to the program. How are you guys, guys?
MIKE: I'm feeling needy. I'm feeling really needy just so you know.
GLENN: Okay. So before we get into this, I want to ask something of both of you.
Mike, why haven't you come out and endorsed Ted Cruz?
PAT: Seriously. Here's your chance.
MIKE: Yeah, I've got two really good friends in this race. I had three until this morning. Now I have two. It puts me in a difficult spot. I'm trying to be as supportive of both of them as I can.
PAT: Yeah, but one of them would really be a great president.
GLENN: One of them would be a great president. And I don't understand this.
PAT: One of them would be a better president than the other one.
GLENN: It's time for you to step up. And, Jeb, here's the thing, I'd like you to step up as well. Because we could just said Jeb has just endorsed Ted Cruz. And we'll even put the little explanation point after your --
JEB: I have an ego, but it's not so big as to think somebody would care about my endorsement.
Listen, Ted Cruz is a great principled conservative. He's excited our base. And if he gets to be president, I'm so looking forward to the day he shakes this place up.
But I read in the Constitution. It's not in my job description that I have to endorse so I think I'll let the voters work their will.
GLENN: Okay. Guys, tell me about the -- because what's happened to our country. And this is why I do think we have to have a constitutionalist as president, the separation of powers is almost nonexistent. And Congress has given away all of their power. So you guys are trying to pass this act to get the power of Congress back. What is it?
JEB: Mike, you go first.
MIKE: Sure. We formed the Article 1 Project for the purpose of reinvigorating Congress' power. Congress over the last 80 years has gradually delegated away almost all of its legislative power, to the point now where upwards of 95 percent of our laws are now made by executive branch bureaucrats. And as hard-working and well-intentioned and well-educated and highly specialized as these people might be, they don't work for us. We can't fire them. They're not elected. They're not even accountable to anyone who is elected. So we're trying to turn that around. We're trying to put the power back into the hands of people, specifically back in the hands of the people's elected representatives.
GLENN: So why is it, Jeb, that you can't get Congress to say -- because this is really self -- this is selfish of you in a way. You could look at it this way. You're saying, "Give me power." Well, that's what everybody in Washington always says. So what's the holdup for the people in Washington saying, we want our right, righteous, and constitutionally correct power back into this house?
JEB: Well, Glenn, you're right. A lot of this has been self-enfeeblement by a number of Congresses. This has been going on for decades. I'm reminded of Madison's great warning that our freedoms are usually lost through gradual and silent encroachments, as opposed to violent usurpations. So this has been going on for decades, but it's reached crisis proportion. And the first thing Congress has to do is decide that Article 1, Section 1, actually means what it says, and that all legislative powers reside in Congress. It doesn't reside with the new fourth branch of government, and that's the unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats.
We're losing the rule of law to the discretion of regulators. And as we lose it, we've lost due process. We've lost our rights under the Constitution. And so the first thing we have to do and that Mike and are doing is sensitize our fellow members of Congress, "Hey, stop the bleeding. Let's reclaim we, the people, the elected representatives of we, the people, the constitutional powers in Article 1, Section 1. It has to do with something called checks and balances."
GLENN: So how many people do you have on this so far? How many people have signed on?
JEB: Well, it was just launched today, and we have ten members, principled conservatives on the Senate and House side who are excited about this. And I suspect a whole lot of others are going to want to join because people are frustrated. They're frustrated, not only at what the president has done with his infamous pen and his phone. He just doesn't seem to have a copy of the Constitution. But also frustrated at what Congress has done to itself. And so I think we'll see a whole lot more.
GLENN: I mean, I have to believe that there -- there is enough fear -- there should be enough fear of either a Bernie Sanders or a Donald Trump coming in there and completely changing the system just based on executive power. That you would think that you could make the case to both sides, "Look, guys, we could lose -- even the game we're playing right now, this could be over right now if we don't protect it in the Congress and in the Senate." Mike.
MIKE: One would think that. One would think that would strike fears into members of Congress. But you have to remember, Glenn, this, from the vantage point of many members of Congress, is a feature, not a bug. This is great. This is the current status quo for many members of Congress. It's just a marvelous thing. I talk about this at length in my book, Our Lost Constitution, in which I describe the fact that the reason has gotten addicted to this in the first place is because we like to pass stuff that makes it sound like we're getting stuff done. When, in fact, all we're doing is passing the buck to someone else who then has to do the difficult legwork, and most importantly, has to take up the accountability for whatever actually gets done. So it's much easier to just say, we shall have clean air. And we hereby delegate the task of what that means and actually putting meat on those bones and enforcing that legislation, than it is to come up with the details ourselves.
GLENN: So how do we get -- how do we get people to be a part -- have you guys talked to Mark Levin about this yet?
MIKE: We have not yet talked to Mark Levin. He's another one on our list. We have lots of people that we need to talk to. Mark is certainly at the top of the list.
GLENN: Yeah, Mark is great. I'm sure he'll be for this. But people can go to Facebook.com/article1. Just the number "1" project. Article 1 Project. And read all about it. And then, what, I guess, do we call our congressmen or our senator -- and will that make a difference, guys? We're so tired of being told to call and it won't make a difference.
JEB: I think it will. You know, when we, the people are being heard, it does make a difference. We've seen it across the last couple of election cycles. I think a lot of members will be responsive. And, again, I think on the Republican side and the conservative side, people feel the need to get back to first principles. I mean, it's not just part of the dusty legacy. It's our vision and destiny to be an exceptional country to go back to our foundational principles. And so I think it can do some good. And if people highlight and say, "It's time to take back the power of the purse. It's time to quit outsourcing your legislative power, I think it will make a difference."
GLENN: So, Jeb, what does it mean -- the goals are reclaiming Congress' power of the purse. Got it. Restoring congressional authority over regulation and regulators. Got it. Reigning in executive discretion. Got it. What does this one mean? Reforming executive, empowering legislative cliffs.
JEB: Well, what that has to do with is what we see on debt ceiling votes. What we see on these tragic votes like the omnibus where the entire government comes down to one single vote which is an abuse of the process. There's no transparency. So there are budget process reforms that you can put in place that will make it easier for Congress to reclaim their power of the purse. For example, a great principled conservative, Tom McClintock of California has a Default Prevention Act to make sure that the US doesn't default on its sovereign debt. Once you take out and segregate sovereign debt from the other expenditures, then all of a sudden the debt ceiling becomes something that can be used to get us off the road to bankruptcy. And what we have to do through the budget process reform is also ensure that the government is broken down into bite-sized pieces where the American people can see what their elected representatives are actually voting on. And instead, we're working on, Glenn, a budget process that was put in place by a super Democratic majority back in the Watergate era. It's just shameful. We have got to change this process.
GLENN: Mike, give me one or two examples of how this will affect the average person's life. Don't talk to me about the debt -- most people -- $19 trillion. They know that. But it doesn't affect their life day to day. How will this affect people's lives today?
MIKE: If we succeed, everything Americans buy has a chance of becoming more affordable.
MIKE: The federal regulations that we have to comply with every year cost the American economy $2 trillion a year. And far from being absorbed by wealthy corporations or wealthy individuals, these are the kinds of costs that end up getting passed downstream. It's kind of a
backdoor invisible, very regressive tax that disproportionately affects the poor and middle class of America, such that everything we buy, every good, every service that we purchase in the economy, is more expensive because of these regulations. And diminished wages and unemployment -- underemployment are also a consequence of these regulations. Those will all be eased if we succeed in this, if we return power to the people. Because a lot of those regulations won't happen when putting the regulations in place are actually elected by the people and subject to recall and termination by the people.
PAT: If I'm not mistaken, both of you guys are up -- both of you constitutional conservatives are up for reelection this year. It's too bad that people don't have a place to go where they could support your campaign if they really believe in what you're doing and want you to continue that work. Wouldn't it be nice --
GLENN: That would be nice.
PAT: -- if there was a place where they could go and maybe donate, offer --
GLENN: Is there a place where they could get behind one of your campaign's?
PAT: I mean, or both?
MIKE: There absolutely is. They can go to LeeforSenate.com. LeeforSenate.com. It's a beautiful place.
PAT: That's so hard to spell though. It's like L-E-E. That's hard.
MIKE: Yes, L-E-EforSenate.com. And it's a wonderful place.
GLENN: For Senate. Certainly there's not some place for Jeb as well.
JEB: You know what, JebHensarling.com is a place people can access as well. I know it's not as easy to spell as Lee, H-E-N-S-A-R-L-I-N-G.
PAT: All right.
GLENN: Huh. .com. Both of you guys. That's crazy. And so wonderful --
PAT: Thanks for what you're doing.
GLENN: Thanks for that. Sincerely, you're two really good conservatives. We need you there. And I know Ted appreciates your implied endorsement.
Thanks a lot, guys. Appreciate it.
JEB: Thanks for having us, Glenn.