WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT) spoke before the House of Representatives to “plead the 10th” regarding the Work-Life Balance Award Act (H.R. 4855). “I plead the 10th” is an effort by the 10th Amendment Task Force to educate Members and the public about the principles of federalism.
Members of the Task Force will “plead the 10th” before the House of Representatives when legislation being considered in Congress conflicts with the principles of federalism. This will serve as a reminder that Washington cannot and should not be the solution to every problem in America.
Transcript of remarks:
Mr. Speaker: today I thank you and I rise today to plead the 10th. Earlier today this body voted on H.R. 4855 that would establish within the Department of Labor an annual work-life balance award for employers that have developed and implemented work-life balanced policies. The bill would also establish an advisory board to administer the award.
Although I oppose this legislation, I want to make it clear that I actually think that the ultimate goals of this bill are good ones. The sponsors have the best intentions. I want to repeat that, the goals and objectives of this bill are respectable and even noble ideas. No one questions that a proper work-life balance is extremely important. But, just because something is important, doesn’t mean that Washington has to write a law to protect it or create a bureau to encourage it, or even have anything else to do with it… in fact, it is simply not the job of the federal government to promote good work-life balance.
There will be many more egregious bills in the future that will mandate, by the federal government to states and locals and to the people, behavior in certain circumstances. But not the incredibly worst bills that are out there withstanding, this Constitution makes the principle very clear, the Constitution gives Congress here in Washington certain powers that are limited and in case we weren’t clear on the concept or we didn’t get it, it includes the 10th Amendment which states that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people.” In other words, if a power is not assigned to the federal government in the Constitution, then it must be automatically assumed to be assigned to states, localities or to no government entity at all.
So imagine that Mr. Speaker, a problem in America not being solved with the involvement of the federal government. Some in this chamber cannot envision such a world, but it can exist. So I rise today to say that I do believe in the Constitution and the 10th Amendment. I remain hopeful that congress will remember our limitations, begin to return the consideration of life’s most important elements back to the states, local governments, churches, private groups and families where they really should be handled.
Therefore Mr. Speaker on this particular issue I plead the 10th.
Gary Wood is the Educational Advisor for the Utah Tenth Amendment Center. Co-founder of the Heritage Training Center, focused on helping end constitutional illiteracy. With 35 years of devoted study of our Constitution his desire is to help others rediscover the inspiring heritage of the United States. Radio show host, training officer, lifetime member of the VFW and most importantly Grandpa.
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