Victims' Rights Caucus


Mr. Speaker, the Official Truth Squad tonight is going to continue the theme that has already been addressed by three of our friends, Mr. Otter from Idaho, Mr. Bishop from Utah and Mr. Garrett from New Jersey. They have been talking about our history. They have been talking about the philosophy of America and who we are and what we are and what we stand for. So for the next few minutes we will be discussing our history, the American Revolution, the people who lived before us, what they thought, what they wrote, and what they said.

I have with me tonight my friend from Texas, another freshman, Mr. Conaway from West Texas, and he is going to start out discussing our heritage and giving us some truth about who we are, what we are, and what we stand for.

Mr. CONAWAY. Judge, I thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to share this hour with you tonight and to be able to discuss these very important topics with our colleagues in the House.

One of the things that occurred to me while I have been here in Congress is that we don't do a real good job of delineating between the role of the Federal Government and everybody else. There is a great push every single day while we are here to expand the reach, to expand the scope, to expand the Federal Government's role in all of our lives. One of the reasons for that is I don't think we have a really good, clear appreciation for our founding documents.

So I have introduced a bill, H. Res. 485, called the America Act, a modest effort to reinstitute the Constitution in America, which would require every Member of Congress, every Representative, every Senator, to read the Constitution once a year. It would also require our senior staffers to also read the Constitution, because an awful lot of what you and I do every single day is somewhat influenced by what our staff does; the idea being that you and I raise our hand in January of every odd-numbered year, one of the seminal moments of my short term here in this Congress in January of 2005 when we stood up to take our oath of office. We pledge to protect and defend the Constitution. In our role as lawmakers, we write laws to implement the Constitution, and, every once in a while, we attempt to change the Constitution.

So it seems pretty self-evident to me we should know what is in the Constitution, and, given the reach of this Federal Government over the years, it seems we may have lost our way with respect to that.

When the Constitution was being written 230-plus years ago, there was a constant struggle or tension, as has already been discussed on this floor tonight, of what the role of the Federal Government should and should not be. Those headed up by Alexander Hamilton thought a wide-ranging, wide-reaching government would be appropriate. Others, such as Adams and Jefferson, thought a much more narrow interpretation of the Constitution would narrow the scope of this Federal Government.

I doubt that if our Founding Fathers could join us today, that even the strongest proponents of the most expansive Federal Government would recognize what we have done under the Constitution with this Federal Government. It reaches into every single portion of our lives.

You and I also, when we campaign and when we are talking on this Hill, talk about reducing the size of government, reducing Federal spending, the threat that the growth in spending has to our way of life.

The real solution, in my mind, is going to lead to some hard decisions that sweep major programs, major perhaps Cabinet-level agencies, out of the Federal Government; a clear recognition that this Federal Government should be limited; that there should be certain things that are totally left up to the States. I am not going to name any of those tonight, because that is going to create some controversy when we begin to talk about that.

The truth of the matter is if we are, in fact, going to rein in the growth of the