Expressing what appears to be a widespread delusion among America’s elected representatives, GOP Congressman Tim Walberg of Michigan (shown) repeatedly claimed in a discussion last week that Congress can do whatever it wants provided there are enough votes to pass it. Despite taking an oath to the U.S. Constitution, which places strict limits on the power of both Congress and the federal government, the Republican lawmaker sounded largely unfamiliar with those restraints. And unfortunately for the American people, Walberg is actually among the more Constitution-friendly lawmakers in a Congress that has been lawlessly running wild for decades now.
The controversial remarks came in a recent discussion with constitutional attorney KrisAnne Hall, a well-known former prosecutor and disabled veteran who now travels the country educating citizens on the U.S. Constitution. On August 1, Hall was at a Republican Party event in Hillsdale, Michigan, as keynote speaker teaching a short course on state sovereignty and the U.S. Constitution. Among those present in the audience was Representative Walberg, who represents the Michigan district in which the event was held. After giving her course, Hall told The New American, Walberg began chatting with others in the audience on various issues related to Hall’s teachings. Before long, Hall and Walberg got into a heated discussion about the limits of congressional power.
“We have the authority to fund anything we want to by the vote of the people,” Walberg tells Hall, who reacts with shock before pointing out that Congress only has the authority in areas that were delegated to the U.S. government under the Constitution. Walberg says he agrees with Hall about that, “but you don’t have 218 members of the House.” Hall again recoils, asking if the congressman believes America is a “democracy” (it’s not, it’s a republic) “based on majority vote in the House.” “Well, it is,” Walberg claims, apparently oblivious to the fact that America’s founders abhorred democracy, or mob rule, as a dangerous form of government that is incompatible with individual liberty.
Walberg doubles down on his bizarre claims when Hall asks if Congress can amend the Constitution by majority vote in the House, claiming that lawmakers can indeed amend the Constitution by “a vote of the people putting Congress in office.” In reality, of course, there are two methods outlined in the Constitution to amend the document, and a majority vote in the House is not among them. “You’re not going to win on this one,” Walberg insists after Hall points out that the proper ways to amend the Constitution are found in Article V. “Congress can vote anything in that they want to,” Walberg adds again. “I may not agree with it, I vote against it.” He also said that while Hall was right in “semantics,” he deals in “reality.”
The Michigan congressman’s apparent excuse for the constitutional violations perpetrated by Congress is that, the last time Congress tried to defund unconstitutional schemes, there was a partial “government shutdown.” Obama and the increasingly discredited establishment media then used the largely phony shutdown to paint lawmakers in a bad light, and, at least according to dubious polls, some Americans were unhappy about that. Hall responded by pointing out that such machinations do not justify the immorality of violating the Constitution by funding unconstitutional programs. Later in the discussion, Walberg also attempts to defend his voting record, claiming to be “the number one most conservative member in this delegation.”
Walberg does attempt on several occasions to extend an olive branch, telling Hall at the beginning of a YouTube video of the exchange that he agreed with everything she said during the course. “The state legislatures should be the most powerful legislative branch,” he said, adding that he agreed with what the late Justice Antonin Scalia told him, “that the most powerful supreme court ought to be the state Supreme Court, not the federal Supreme Court.” At close to the three-minute mark, Walberg also goes to the cameraman and says, “I agree with everything she said, except in practical function in the Congress we have now.” He agrees with Hall, too, that, over the years, Congress has violated the Constitution. “But the people have put people in,” he observed.
Hall, unsatisfied, explains that the power of the purse is in the hands of the House of Representatives, where Walberg serves. “It is in the House alone,” she says. “Why are you funding the EPA? They’re unconstitutional.” Somebody in the audience, which by that point had already mostly left the room, chimes in about the Department of Homeland Security, too. When Walberg replies, Hall explains that Congress could defund the EPA by refusing to appropriate money for the unconstitutional bureaucracy, which was lawlessly created by disgraced President Richard Nixon using an “executive order.” Later in the discussion, Walberg denies that he voted to fund the EPA. He also agreed that states should take powers back from the federal government.
Walberg campaign manager Stephen Rajzer issued a statement later disavowing the notion that a majority of the House could change the Constitution. “He does not believe, as the article states, that by 218 votes you can change the Constitution,” Rajzer was quoted as saying in local media outlets. “Like everyone in the room last night, Tim is troubled by President Obama’s repeated attempts to circumvent the legislative process with his phone and pen. Tim wholeheartedly agrees that we need to restore America’s founding principles, and he will continue to fight back against this executive overreach and to uphold our constitutional rights.”
While some of his comments agreeing with Hall did indeed indicate proper constitutional understanding, actions speak louder than words. And aside from some of the troubling remarks made to Hall, Representative Walberg has accumulated an unimpressive voting record in terms of constitutional fidelity. According to The New American‘s Freedom Index, which ranks each member of Congress based on the constitutionality of select votes from their voting record, Walberg votes constitutionally a disappointing 65 percent of the time — better than most but still a terrible track-record for somebody who takes an oath with their hand on the Bible to uphold the U.S. Constitution. He has also voted repeatedly to empower Obama on everything from war powers to trade and sovereignty.
Among Walberg’s more recent unconstitutional votes was his decision to support allowing Obama to continue waging endless illegal wars all over the world. Separately, he voted against stopping the Obama administration’s lawless support for oftentimes brutal jihadists waging war in Syria. With the U.S. government now about $20 trillion in debt, Walberg also voted in favor of a “global food security” strategy — even though feeding the American people is not a constitutional responsibility of the federal government, much less feeding all of humanity.
Despite campaigning against Obama’s lawlessness and usurpation of power, Walberg also voted to surrender congressional authority over trade policy by granting Obama “Trade Promotion Authority.” That power allowed Obama to negotiate the unconstitutional monstrosity known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which drastically curtails U.S. sovereignty and is so unpopular that both major presidential candidates are running an anti-TPP campaign. There are plenty of other unconstitutional votes by Walberg listed in the Freedom Index, which is an excellent tool to make voters aware of their representatives’ voting record and to challenge politicians to obey their oath.
In comments to The New American magazine, Hall said it was important that Americans see the video of her discussion with Walberg. “I posted this video hoping that it would be an eye opener to others on how too many think in D.C.,” she explained. “I hoped it would spark a discussion and desire to learn the truth so we can correct or replace those who refuse the reality of constitutionally limited government…. This self-proclaimed unfettered power exercised by those bound by the Constitution is driving America into unrecoverable debt and destroying the fundamental principles that created our Constitutional Republic. The people are sick of it.”
Hall explained that the class she was teaching in Michigan at the time focused on the constitutional remedy for controlling the federal government. Unfortunately, she said, Walberg disagreed with the view of James Madison, widely regarded as the father of the Constitution, who outlined the duty and obligation of Congress over the federal budget, among other things. “Mr. Walberg is evidence that the real problem in America rests with the persistent and unconstitutional acts of Congress,” she added. “They no longer act as servants of the people, but consider themselves unlimited masters over all.”
For now, she said, America is “overrun” with false ideas of federal supremacy — the incorrect notion that the federal government can basically do whatever it wants without respecting constitutional limitations. Ultimately, then, the real solution to these problems is the education of the American people on the proper role, limits, and control of the federal government, Hall said. “Once the people are educated they must then demand and expect their elected representatives to act appropriately,” she continued. “They must also take the time to educate those in government that operate under error. Those who will not respond to proper education must be removed from office.”
In understanding the Constitution, Hall said it was important to understand that any powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people. “The commerce, general welfare, necessary and proper, and tax and spending clauses are not powers in and of themselves,” she said, citing Madison and especially his writings in The Federalist, No. 45. If and when the federal government exceeds those clearly defined limits, Hall said the states must step up and stop it.
In her presentation last week, Hall explained that the people, through their states, have the “unquestionable authority” to protect their liberties from federal attack. She pointed to state nullification of unconstitutional federal usurpations as “one of our constitutional, legal, and historical means of controlling an unhinged federal government.” Indeed, the Founders were strong proponents of state governments interposing between an out-of-control federal government and citizens.
In Walberg’s defense, his voting record is better than most in Congress. He has also attracted the fury of fringe anti-Constitution extremists such as the far-left “Right Wing Watch,” which was foaming at the mouth in outrage over his pro-life stand and his constitutional votes on a number of issues. Congressman Walberg’s office did not respond by press time to questions from The New American seeking clarification of his comments.