WASHINGTON, D.C. – Federal legislators need to remember the importance of states rights in their deliberations.
That was the message from Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, earlier this week, in a letter he sent to Senate leaders.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., were asked to “incorporate federalism into their discussions about how to address the fiscal challenges currently before the country.”
“It was the traditional role of the Senate to protect the prerogatives of states,” according to a press release from Bishop’s office. “One of the biggest problems undermining our nation’s financial well-being is the federal government’s stretch of the Constitution to assume responsibilities best left to state and local governments.”
Bishop is a co-founder of the Congressional 10th Amendment Task Force and a consistent champion of the concept of federalism.
He said “cuts” or reduced federal spending isn’t enough. Congress “ought to address what level of government is best suited for administering particular programs.”
Bishop also said in the letter that federalist principles are “often mistakenly associated exclusively with conservative ideology, and called that an unfair caricature. Federalism is simply the way in which authority and power between states, the federal government, and ultimately the American people is delegated.”
Federalism allows people to choose what is important to them in their local communities, he said:
“It is giving people an option on how they wish to live their lives.”
A federalism debate “should be the most important political, legal and Constitutional debate taking place today,” Bishop said.
“It goes to our very roots as a nation, and now is the time for a reinvigorated discussion as we seek solutions to properly address and protect our nation’s and children’s financial future and wellbeing,” he said.
Such action will help prevent the country “suffering from the same financial crisis in the future,” Bishop said.