Piotrowski: Congress must work harder if it is to regain authority

by James Piotrowski, Candidate for U.S. Representative for Idaho’s First Congressional District

This is not a partisan issue. Preventing executive overreach is crucial regardless of party affiliation.

But we don’t need new legislation to get this done. Our founding fathers already created a system of checks and balances to prevent the abuse of power. These checks and balances require our representatives to do their jobs, and pass laws.

Instead doing the hard work of legislating, my opponent Congressman Raul Labrador has cosponsored H.R. 4768, the Separation of Powers Restoration Act of 2016.

Ironically, this bill doesn’t take power from the executive branch and give it to Congress. Instead, it gives those powers to the courts. These are the same courts politicos from both sides of the aisle have accused of harboring “activist judges” when they disagree with a ruling.

The real solution for preventing executive overreach is by Congress actually getting some work done.

I’m not the only one saying it. In 2014, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) told a CPAC audience that expanding executive powers were caused by “poor work ethic in Congress” and a “Congress (that) fails to do oversight.” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) says that through gridlock, “Congress has recast itself as a back-seat driver in American politics.”

Most Americans would agree: Congress, plagued by gridlock, isn’t doing the business of the people. And for the last 6 years, Rep. Raul Labrador has been of the main architects of this gridlock. Labrador has voted against just about any bill that comes across his desk – even if the bill is funding for rural schools here in Idaho or providing care to our veterans.

It’s absurd to imagine a hyper-partisan bill like H.R. 4768 is going to fix what hyper-partisanship created. Fixing Congress will require a new generation of lawmakers who believe the heavy lifting of legislating is more important than endless feuds of political bloodsport.

I believe that a functional Congress is much better than the gridlocked mess we’ve seen in the last six years. In Idaho, we value hard work. But looking at our representatives in Congress, there is very little hard work to be found.

I plan to change that trend. Working hard and finding consensus to move forward is much more important to me than vilifying people who disagree with me. It’s time to restore the balance of power through work. I look forward to the opportunity.

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