He then added that party shouldn't define a member of Congress and that "we are basically servants of the citizens of the United States."In comments, I objected to the "basically" remark and said.
No, Congressmen are actually public servants. They are in public service. Their entire function in life is to serve the people in their district.The Oyster made a comment on my little blog and said that he had to give me a civics lesson in a post update. So, I went back to his post, where I found this little nugget.
They should be reminded of this fact regularly by their constituents.
In the comments Paw Paw claims that "the entire function" of U.S. Reps "is to serve the people in their district."Well, Oyster, you're right about the oath. Public officers of the United States take an oath of office. They all basically say the same thing with minor variations, but in the case of a US Representative, the oath is as follows:
Not so. U.S. Reps swear to support and defend the Constitution, they do not swear to only serve the people of their district.
"I, (name of Member), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."This is generally the same oath that all public officers of the United States take. I've taken it four times. As a young, brash lieutenant of our Army I first took it upon assuming the privileges of an officer. I understood then and I understand now that the oath was to the Constitution. My primary function, however, was to my soldiers and the officers appointed over me.
Cao's duties as a public officer vary, but the entire function of his job is to represent the people who sent him to Congress. It's that old "representative republic" thing. His job is to represent the people of Louisiana's second district while supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States.
Then, we should go to Article 1 of the US Constitution, which sets forth the basic functions of the US House of Representatives. There, we learn that among other things, the House is elected from the people and is expected, among other things, to:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United StatesSo, keeping in mind that Cao is supposed to represent the people, while honoring his oath to the Constitution, I would argue that his NO vote on the stimulus was completely in keeping with his duties and consistent with his oath of office.
This stimulus package has created the greatest destruction of personal wealth in the United States in this century. It threatens to burden us with massive debt for many years to come. It is neither an investment, nor is it helping with the recovery. It's a huge spending bill. I would submit that a vote FOR the stimulus was directly in violation of the Constitution to "provide for the general welfare of the United States". Creating the conditions for the destruction of untold wealth in the form of pensions, 401K's, stock portfolios and annuities is not providing for the general welfare of the United States. Some would argue that it hinders the general welfare.
Congress was wrong when they passed that bill. Our President was wrong when he signed it. As bad as the stimulus is, the budget is even worse.
Still, I like Cao. I think that he's going to do fine in Congress. As long as he keeps his job firmly in his head, and keeps his sense of humor about him.