The Constitution is important to all of us and my work in Congress.
A lifelong admirer and student of our country’s founding document, Congressman Garrett is committed to preserving and protecting the Constitution of the United States of America. As Founder and Chairman of the Congressional Constitution Caucus, Congressman Garrett is highly respected among his peers as an authority on constitutional issues. Founded in 2005, the Constitution Caucus provides and effective forum for education on constitutional principles and discussion on the appropriate limitations of congressional action.
Believing it’s time for Congress to return to its roots, return to a renewed focus on the vision our founding fathers had for the United States of America, Congressman Garrett has long championed a House rule resolution that would require all legislation to appropriately cite an enumerated power in the U.S. Constitution.
Dubbed the “Garrett rule” by the Washington Times, Congressman Garrett’s House rule would require all bills and amendments to contain a statement appropriately citing an enumerated power granted to Congress in the U.S. Constitution as a basis for enacting the law. If a bill did not offer sufficient constitutional justification, a Member could object to the bill’s consideration, which would result in twenty minutes of debate followed by a vote on whether or not to table the objection and move to consideration of the bill or amendment.
Central to Congressman Garrett’s Constitution citation rule is its overarching mission of bringing real “teeth” to enforcement. As the Washington Times writes, “The Garrett rule wouldn’t allow a bill to dodge the responsibility by citing the ambiguous ‘general welfare clause’ or the ‘necessary and proper clause’ of the Constitution. … Mr. Garrett’s proposal thus would require a citation of the original, specific provisions, not the vague, formless clauses favored by those who work to circumvent the Constitution’s limits.”
Congressman Garrett has also introduced a House rule resolution that would require congressional staff members to complete annual training on the Constitution. Congressman Garrett believes that since Members of Congress often consult their staff for advice about legislation and other official actions, it’s important for congressional staff to have a firm understanding of the constitutional principles our country was founded upon. Having a training program dedicated to the Constitution would increase general awareness of the Constitution and thereby lead to a more constitutionally-sound manner of government. Congressman Garrett believes Congress would better limit itself to enumerated powers if those who work on Capitol Hill are more familiar with what those specific powers are.