Proroguing Congress: From Unconstitutional to Funny

Well, that’s the way it is in North Carolina, at least:

“I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that,” Perdue said. “You want people who don’t worry about the next election.”

The comment — which came during a discussion of the economy — perked more than a few ears. It’s unclear whether Perdue, a Democrat, is serious — but her tone was level and she asked others to support her on the idea.  (Read her full remarks below.)

Evidently they read my blog over the mountain:

Barack Obama is, in some ways, in same position as Charles I of England was in 1629: from his view, he would be better off if he could send Congress home for the duration…We are headed to a major “constitutional” crisis.  Coming to an agreement on this only puts it off, but come it will.

But the U.S. Constitution (that pesky document) makes such a move difficult. Article 2, Section 3 states that the President “…in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper…”  So he can only give congress the boot in the case when they can’t agree on a time to adjourn.   As I noted, this was in response to Charles I’s difficulties.  And actually Governor Perdue is calling for something more serious than proroguing: she’s thinking about skipping an election!

We see now that the left’s enamourment with democratic process is wearing thin with their inability to control the results.  We are a step (or several, now we have Peter Orszag’s comment) when someone will get the nerve to act on their convictions.

2 Replies to “Proroguing Congress: From Unconstitutional to Funny”

  1. It’s becoming increasing clear that our Congress has become a completely dysfunctional entity which is paralyzed by gridlock, corruption, and special interests. Although I have great reverance for the US Constitution, I don’t think that the founding fathers would want us to be bound by a system of government which isn’t working. Thomas Jefferson suggested that there be a revolution every twenty years.

    My proposal would be to go to a unicameral Congress with long term lengths. Instead of the gridlock and dealmaking fostered by having two houses, I would use ‘degressive proportionality’ which means that large states would have more representatives, but far less than they currently have in House of Representatives.
    Degressive proportionality is used in the European Union, and means that if state A has 25 times the population of state B, maybe it’ll have 5 times the representatives. This method combines the importance of population representation and state representation without having two separate houses. To add an additional check and balance, I would require a 60% supermajority for non-budgetary bills.

    While the current trend is toward promoting term limits, there is pretty strong evidence that term limits are counterproductive. They eliminate the long-term members who have the most experience, and most importantly are willing to compromise. Legislative bodies do not work when one party is simply try to out vote the other. Compromise is key, and compromise becomes more likely when you have worked with people for years. Likewise, Congressmen should feel free to vote their consciences without fearing that any deviation from party line will get them voted out of office. I suggest a ten year renewable term for Congressmen.


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