U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) sat down this week for an exclusive interview with the Daily Times and in the first installment of that interview which ran on Wednesday, April 6, he talked about discretionary spending as his preference over mandatory spending, and his belief that the president has tipped the balance of powers through executive orders. In this installment he takes the same stand on the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Department of Justice.
“You have a Supreme Court that’s changing laws and the Constitution says legislation will come from the Congress, and they’ll (Supreme Court) say – ‘well, we think they meant to do this.’ If they didn’t put it in the law, then you send it back and not change the law at the Supreme Court,” Wenstrup said. “You have a Department of Justice deciding which laws they will enforce or not enforce and probably the thing that affects most people on a regular basis is the agencies have the rule of law and we in Congress write letters saying – please don’t do this.”
Wenstrup says the House passed the Reins Act that makes it mandatory that any new federal regulation has to be approved by Congress.
“I’m all about bringing back Article One that says – ‘Congress, the House and the Senate will create all legislation.’”
During the last off-year election, the Republicans gained control of both houses of Congress, why are they still unable to pass legislation opposed by the president?
“We don’t have veto-proof majorities, and in the Senate, even moreso with their rules, you have to have 60 to bring things to the floor,” Wenstrup said. “So a minority can continue to block things. The last Congress we passed 382 bills that we sent to the Senate and they threw on the floor, including appropriations, they just don’t do them.”
Wenstrup said when Congress passed “No Budget-No Pay” a few years ago that said if the House or the Senate doesn’t pass a budget, they get no pay.
“Lo and behold, the Senate passed a budget for the first time in years and we actually got a budget which actually kicks the process off,” Wenstrup said. “When we don’t go through all the appropriations bills, how we spend money later, the we do these Omnibus bills at the end of the year that nobody likes.”
Wenstrup says the U.S. military is at “rock bottom and actually lower than I think we should be.”
With the announcement of the shutting down of the American Centrifuge Project at Piketon, the U.S. will have no domestic supply of uranium. What is the effect of that action?
“That’s a deep concern of mine. That’s another national security risk,” Wenstrup said. “The Congress appropriated monies for it and the DOE (Department of Energy) said we’re not going to do it. Centrus, God bless the management there, they are going to try and keep it going if they can. They’ve got a strong-willed workforce. They’re helping people that they had to let go get jobs, and I appreciate that, and they’re trying to do some private things rather than the government work and hopefully that will pan out, but I don’t know how low they can go and keep the lights on.”
Is the ACP going to turn into another D&D? (decontamination and decommissioning)
“That’s my concern?” Wenstrup said. “I asked the Secretary of Energy (Ernest Moniz) at one point months ago, ‘how much does it cost to shut it down?’ he said – ‘that’s a good question.’ I said – ‘that’s not a part of your decision-making process?’ The study they were doing on all this was due to us last April. They made a decision to shut it down before they showed it to Congress and then said they would get it to us in a couple of weeks. You can’t make this stuff up. You can’t tell me that’s not intentional when they had the report, didn’t give it to us, made the decision and then begged forgiveness and I said – ‘you’re not getting my forgiveness.’”
After the Daily Times interview with Wenstrup, he took the opportunity to correct the record concerning his statement on the mandatory funding of the Rob Portman CARA bill.
“I had looked at the original CBO score of Rob’s bill and didn’t see that the final passage out of the Senate eliminated mandatory spending,” Wenstrup said. He said he did not want to give the impression that at any time he opposed the bill.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.