I normally do not write an article on the weekends, because it gives me time to regenerate my thoughts and it also gives me time to reconnect with my loving wife, who is usually working when I am writing.  I decided to write today, in response to this email, that I received this morning.  I have seen this same email a number of times and I would guess that there are a lot of people who like this idea because it keeps circulating through different social media venues.

It is called the”Congressional Reform Act of 2013″  and it gives Mr. Warren Buffet credit with coming up with this idea.  It goes on to state 7 articles of conditions and they are as follows:

1.  No Tenure/No Pension.  Re:  A Congressman or Congresswoman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they’re out of office.

2.  Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security.  Re:  All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately.  All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.  It may not be used for any other purpose.

3.  Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4.  Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.  Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.  (Note: CPI stands for Consumer Price Index)

5.  Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6.  Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7.  All contracts with past and present Congressman or Congresswoman are void effective 12/31/13.  Re:  The American people did not make this contract with members of Congress.  Congress made all these contracts for themselves.  Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.  The founding fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s) then go home and back to work.

 

The problem with this so-called proposal is that this type of legislative change will never happen because members of Congress would never vote to make these changes into law.  They are always looking out for their best interests and even if the majority of Americans wanted this enacted, it is not within their power to do so.  There are two ways that Amendments can be made to the U.S. Constitution and they are as follows:

 

1.  Propose An Amendment:

Either Congress or the States can propose an amendment to the Constitution.

  • Both Houses of Congress must propose the amendment with a two-thirds vote. This is how all current amendments have been offered.
  • Two-thirds of the State legislatures must call on Congress to hold a Constitutional Convention

2.  Ratify an Amendment:

Regardless of how the amendment is proposed, it must be ratified by the States.

  • Three-fourths of the State legislatures must approve of the amendment proposed by Congress, or
  • Three-fourths of the states must approve the amendment via ratifying conventions. This method has only been used once, to repeal Prohibition (21st Amendment).

Is there a timeline for ratification?  The US Supreme Court has held that ratification must happen within “some reasonable time after the proposal.”  Since the 18th Amendment, Congress has set a term of seven years for ratification.  Only 33 amendments have received a two-thirds vote from both Houses of Congress.  Of those, only 27 have been ratified by the States.  Perhaps the most recent and most visible failure is the Equal Rights Amendment.

So, even though it may sound good, it will never happen because the people of this country are not in charge of making changes to our Constitution.  So, to all those people who keep sending this email to all their friends and relatives…quit wasting your time.  The only way to bring about change in government is at the voter box.  Quit voting party line and vote for that people who will represent your ideals, not theirs’.  This is the direct result of the “good old boys” club in Washington, who is more concerned about getting re-elected than working to improve this country.

 

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