Congress is back in session, having met last week and all this week, as well. For at least the next month Congress will be taking up the various appropriations measures, which are the individual pieces of legislation funding the various aspects of the federal government.
My amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act finally came to the House floor for debate and a vote last week. My amendment would have ended the federal government's use of our tax dollars to subsidize overseas abortions and "population control" programs, including related family planning services. Nowhere in the Constitution is Congress authorized to take your money and spend it in such a manner, whether here or abroad.
I was pleased that 146 of my fellow congressmen voted for the constitutionally and morally correct position, but our side of the issue did not have enough to win. But I'm not discouraged because we were able to change the debate and make people think about whether they wanted to vote for morality, constitutional government and less spending, or for more big spending on unconstitutional programs. Maybe next time we will have more support.
Unfortunately, the House then overwhelmingly voted to pass the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act. I voted against the measure not only because it includes the funding for population control, family planning and abortions, but also because this act called for spending more money on the so-called "peace-keeping" missions around the world. I cannot in good conscience vote to put the lives of our troops in very real danger for purposes that have nothing to do with our national defense. It's time to end our involvement in these activities and protect and support our troops, not open them up to more and more hostility and danger for no good reason.
This week the Congress will continue debate on the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act. This is perhaps, next to foreign aid, one of the easiest appropriation to vote against this "budget season." This appropriation has absolutely no legitimate basis. None. It pumps more and more money into the tired liberal mantra of "national education standards" which have done exactly what the liberals wanted: standardized education. Unfortunately, it has standardized education down. Since the federal government and the advocates of anti-constitutional education programs began creeping into the scholastic picture, we have seen all measures of academic achievement drop.
According to the Constitution - and common sense - education is not something for which the federal government should involve itself. Only parents know what's best for their child's educational needs, not federal bureaucrats. The teachers and school boards in the cities and towns of the 14th District know the standards appropriate for their students, not congress, the president and educational bureaucrats' unions. The way for the federal government to help improve education in our country, is to get out of the way. Those who advocate more federal involvement in education have failed our children, and failed miserably.
Additionally, the Labor and Education Appropriations Act is easy to vote against because of it's inclusion of continued spending for what is commonly called "Title X." This section of the bill includes the funding for the availability of birth control devices , sex education and "services" to minors in our public schools. A large portion of the money appropriated in this act actually goes to the pro-abortion advocacy organization Planned Parenthood.
Regardless of what one thinks about abortion, sex education or even the distribution of birth control devices to children, the real issue is that the Constitution simply does not allow Congress to spend tax dollars in this way. If we are serious about wanting to balance the budget, cut taxes and restore personal liberty, Congress does not need to pass new laws, new taxes or new spending.
Balancing the budget, cutting taxes and restoring personal liberty
is easy: Congress just needs to follow the Constitution.
Ron Paul represents the 14th District of Texas. His office may be contacted at 203 Cannon, Washington, DC 20515.