Target: U.S. Senate
Goal: Don’t limit Congress’ ability to protect America’s workers
U.S. Senators Tom Coburn and Rand Paul recently introduced a new bill that has been cosponsored by an additional 34 members of the Senate Republican caucus. If passed, this legislation could render it nearly impossible for Congress to enact any legislation intended to improve conditions for America’s labor force or to regulate the workplace in general.
Coburn and Paul frame their bill as an attempt to limit the powers of the federal government and restore power to the states. The bill is named the “Enumerated Powers Act of 2013,” and it would require all federal legislation to “contain a concise explanation of the specific authority in the Constitution that is the basis for its enactment.”
The bill appears to be an attempt to revert back to a long-ago discredited interpretation of the Constitution. The full text of the bill is not yet available, but according a press release from Senator Coburn’s office, the bill would prohibit “the use of the Commerce Clause, except for ‘the regulation of the buying and selling of goods or services, or the transporting for those purposes, across boundaries with foreign nations, across State lines, or with Indian tribes.'”
Existing labor laws would not be affected by the bill, but it would allow for a procedural objection to be raised against any new legislation that does not comply with the stringent limits imposed by the Enumerated Powers Act of 2013. This bill could be essentially used as a tool to block attempts at enacting new workplace laws, such as legislation increasing the national minimum wage or a federal nondiscrimination law.
Coburn and Paul hope to severely limit the constitutional role of the government. In doing so, they are reverting back to outdated interpretations of the Constitution that would make it very difficult for progressive labor laws to be passed. Tell Coburn, Paul, and the 34 other senators endorsing this bill to stop their attempts to limit Congress’ abilities to regulate the workplace and provide protections to laborers. Sign the petition below to stop the Enumerated Powers Act of 2013.
Dear U.S. Senate,
The new piece of legislation introduced by Senators Tom Coburn and Rand Paul and cosponsored by 34 members of the Senate Republican caucus that would limit the breadth of the Commerce Clause is based on an outdated, discredited interpretation of the Constitution. This same interpretation was once used to block passage of child labor laws.
Supporters of the bill frame it as an attempt to limit the powers of the federal government, and it allows for a procedural objection to be raised against any new legislation that does not comply with the stringent limits set forth in the bill. This would make it extremely difficult for the federal government to regulate the workplace and provide workers with protections. I urge you to stop passage of the Enumerated Powers Act of 2013.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Bluszczokrzew via WikiMedia Commons