Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 6.1.15

It’s About the Constitution

The Constitution – Still Relevant

The Senate debate on collecting all our phone data has been interesting.  Hopefully the American people have a better understanding of their rights and of the importance of the Congressional power to check the Executive branch.

Government Control of Water – An Update

On May 27, the Obama Administration announced it had finalized its Clean Water Rule, commonly known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

Proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this controversial rule redefines the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act.  In doing so, it vastly expands EPA’s authority over various wet areas.

According to U.S. News and World Report, “The Clean Water Rule reportedly upholds exemptions for agriculture.  However, some tributaries that may be dry for prolonged periods but feed larger waterways when flooded will be covered by the new rule, federal officials said.”

In other words, a dry branch that only gets water during a gully washer or a spot in your yard that gets squishy during “prolonged” rain could now be subject to EPA regulation and control.

Many mines are being shuttered, and now the EPA wants to control our land as well.  It is my opinion this taking, if not paid for by the federal government, is “unconstitutional.”

Also, it should be noted the American Farm Bureau Federation says the changes to the final rule are little more than window dressing.

Others share my concerns.  Last May, I joined 230 Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle in urging the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw their overreaching WOTUS rule.  More recently, on May 12 of this year, the House of Representatives passed the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act (H.R. 1732), which would require the EPA to withdraw this rule.  I supported this bill, as did 24 House Democrats.  Additionally, 3 Democrat Senators have joined 27 Republican Senators in signing on in support of a different bill that also would restrict the WOTUS rule.

I remain opposed to the WOTUS rule, and will continue working to fight this and other overreaching EPA actions.

The Constitution and Obamacare – An Update

Last week, a U.S. judge held the first major hearing regarding the lawsuit brought about by my colleagues and I in the House involving Administration actions in the implementation of the Obamacare health care law.  We believe the Administration has unlawfully bypassed Congress while implementing Obamacare.  As Reuters notes, “At issue are executive changes authorizing Treasury payments to healthcare insurers without the funding being agreed by Congress and delaying implementation of the law's employer mandate, which required employers with more than 50 employees to provide healthcare coverage.”

The Administration last week argued this lawsuit should be dismissed, contending the House lacks standing to sue.  “So it is your position that if the House of Representatives affirmatively voted not to fund something ... then that vote can be ignored by the administration, because after all, no one can sue them?” asked Judge Rosemary Collyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  “I want you to explain ... why it's not an insult to the Constitution?,” she also said.

Judge Collyer had not decided on the standing issue before her last week, nor did she say when she expects to rule.  Regardless, as a Member of the House of Representatives, it is my sworn duty to protect the rights and freedoms afforded us by our Constitution, and to steadfastly defend our system of checks and balances.  It doesn’t matter whether I like the law or whether the President likes the law.  Once passed by Congress and signed into law, it is the President’s job to faithfully execute the law unless changed by Congress.

A Government Gun Registration List?

More than two thousand bills have been introduced this Congress.  Some of these bills might earn my support.  Others I would certainly oppose.

Consider the recently-introduced Firearm Risk Protection Act (H.R. 2546).  According to the Washington Times, “…The Firearm Risk Protection Act would subject gun owners to a $10,000 fine if they ignored a mandate for liability insurance before obtaining a weapon, The Hill reported Friday.”

This bill is a backdoor way of creating an “unconstitutional” government gun registration list.  Put simply, I would strongly oppose and fight against this legislation.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office.  You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671.  To reach my office via email, please visit my website at  Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.


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