This week's syndicated column
Dear Members of Congress,
Here's an assignment for you: Watch the 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz" and pay particular attention to the part in which Dorothy realizes that in her ruby red slippers, she had the magic power she needed all along.
You do, too. Not in fancy footwear, of course. It's called the power of the purse.
You don't like what's going on where the border used to be before Barack Obama eliminated it? I realize you are probably not equipped to deliver the Constitutional remedy of impeachment, but how about this: When Barack Obama's multi-billion-dollar "supplemental" budget request for the "unaccompanied children" crisis comes knocking on the door of the Appropriations Committee, put your hands in your pockets and whistle. You do not have to fund it. And why would you? As Texas Gov. Perry points out in USA Today, "out of $3.7 billion in President Obama's request, only $68.4 million -- or 1.8 percent -- is directly dedicated to border security efforts." That "supplemental" request, by the way, which initial reports pegged at $2 billion, has now grown to $4.3 billion.
Just say no. You can tell the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave: "Not good enough, Mr. President. Up here on Capitol Hill, we are persuaded by our Senate colleague Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that there is a cheaper, better option. As Sen. Coburn says, $20 million will fly all of these aliens home -- first class! Even if we agree to spend the $68.4 million more of taxpayers' money that you have designated to secure (read: attempt to reinstate) the border, we will still rack up savings of well over $3 billion!"
That's real power -- and it's all yours. Get used to it. Remember, absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely, too. Think of this way: You are useless to your bosses (constituents) if you are nothing more than a bunch of rubber-stamping, executive branch yes-men. And speaking of the power of the purse, that's just not what we pay you for.
To be sure, there's much more financial flexing to do. Not to alarm anyone unduly, but it is a fact that in this immediate and truly existential crisis, the federal government is seizing more dictatorial powers than ever. Look at the way the feds are blocking journalists and you, democratically elected representatives, from even seeing what is going on at the holding centers for the "unaccompaned alien minors," aka (according to federal fiat) "unaccompanied children," soon to be known as "unchaperoned debutantes."
Attempting to inspect aliens held at Ft. Sill in his own district, Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., was turned away on July 1 by the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS told him to return three weeks later. According to Politico, "Later in the week, the Department of Health and Human Services granted Bridenstine and members of the media a scheduled visit to the detention center on July 12" -- did you catch the offending word, "granted"? -- "but only on the conditions that pictures, questions and interactions with those in the facility are not allowed."
Says who -- the Communist Party bosses of Upper Slobovia? Aptly, Bridenstine told CNN that "this is the kind of media (censorship) that they had in the former Soviet Union. This is not the kind of unfettered access that we expect in the United States" -- certainly not in installations for illegal aliens that run on public monies.
Wouldn't you say HHS is getting a little big for its britches?
Me, too. Well, who do you think is responsible for providing HHS with its budget, which comes to roughly $1 billion annually?
You people. If you, the Reps., of We, the People, can't get into these black holes of federal overreach in your own districts, then you need to think long and hard about turning off the juice to them.
OK, time's up. Tell HHS run amok, with its Office of Refugee Resettlement and its Administration for Children and Families, and the rest, that transparency is their New World Order, that the elected representatives of the American people, whom they work for every day, are on their way over ASAP with the ladies and gents of the Fourth Estate (such as they are), and nothing is off limits or off the record -- or else two weeks' notice is waiting them all at the door.
Hey, that's a good idea anyway. Think it over. Meanwhile, do what it takes to get the one-way tickets for the Central American Airlift bought and paid for. There may still be some good summer deals.
As Dorothy said, "There's no place like home." But you, our elected representatives, must do everything that is Constitutionally in your power to protect it.