Monday, August 22, 2011

In voting to gut Clean Water Act, US House (including Henry Cuellar) votes against itself and for state's rights

Blue Dog Democrat or Neo-Tea Partier?  Are they one and same?

Being the only democrat in the US house from Texas to vote in favor of the recent bill to gut the Federal Clean Water Act, Henry Cuellar sure sounded  a lot more like a Tea Partier and state's rights advocate than like someone who is looking out for the well-being of his constituents.

As the Republican-led Texas government continues to look the other was while the fracking industry decimates our state's natural resources, Henry figured that this trend must continue. And so, he voted in favor of HR 2018, aptly named The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011. This is obviously a nod to the influence of the Tea Baggers Partiers who seek to return to a period in time when the states were able to dispossess their most vulnerable citizens of equal protection under the law.

From the Constitutional Accountability Center

Known as the “Supremacy Clause,” this constitutional provision establishes that duly passed federal laws “shall be the supreme Law of the land” and any conflicting state law will be trumped or “preempted” by federal law.  Advocates who disagree with health care reform—or environmental regulations or civil rights laws—are perfectly entitled to argue that these laws go beyond Congress’s enumerated powers, and even to bring lawsuits asking the courts to so hold.  But when they take the extreme step of advocating for the nullification of federal law—in direct contradiction of the Supremacy Clause—they are dishonoring our Founders and the Constitution itself.

When states attempt to nullify federal action, they pass legislation or take other official action that seeks to block implementation of federal law.  Nullification has been suggested to aid noble causes—such as resisting the Alien and Sedition Acts and the Fugitive Slave Act—but the tactic was most aggressively advocated for in the 1820s and ’30s by pro-slavery politician John C. Calhoun (who started the short-lived Nullifier Party), extended by the Confederate secessionists in the 1850s and ’60s, and then reinvigorated by segregationists in the 1950s and ’60s.
And now, it's being used by the Tea Party-led Republicans with the help of our own elected US Congressman Henry Cuellar.  Who would've thought?