FreedomWorks’ Member of the Month for March 2022: Sen. Mike Lee
The Big Picture
For over a decade, Sen. Mike Lee has consistently stood on the gold standard for conservatism in the United States Senate. Holding a perfect lifetime score of 100 percent on the FreedomWorks scorecard, Lee’s credentials as a champion for fiscal conservatism and limited government are impeccable.
Raised with a deep respect for the United States Constitution, Lee got the opportunity to watch his father, Rex E. Lee, serve as the Solicitor General (the top lawyer for the Department of Justice) under President Ronald Reagan.
In addition to a thriving private-sector career, Senator Lee served the state of Utah as Governor Jon Huntsman’s General Counsel and later was a law clerk for Justice Samuel Alito.
Senator Lee serves as the Ranking Republican on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights and the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining. He also serves on the Senate Commerce Committee and the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging. Senator Lee leads Republicans on the Joint Economic Committee as the Ranking Member.
Restoring Legislative Power
Over the past several years, Congress has had a movement to reassert the original intent of Article I of the Constitution, which vests all lawmaking authority in the Legislative Branch. Congress has, however, ceded much of this authority to the Executive Branch. With Democrats calling on the White House to declare a “Climate Emergency,” it is even more essential that Congress reclaim the authority the Constitution vests in the legislative branch under Article I. History shows, regardless of which party a president belongs to, that the power of the Executive Branch grows with each successive president. Each president takes power left by his or her predecessor as a floor, not a ceiling. The result is increased executive power, at the expense of Congress, and blurred constitutional lines that pose a more significant threat to the individual liberties protected by the Bill of Rights.
Senator Lee is committed to restoring the First Branch of Government to its proper legislative role. He has led and supported efforts to empower Congress while reining in a runaway executive branch.
ARTICLE ONE Act
- The ARTICLE ONE Act would amend the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to require congressional approval of an emergency declaration made by a president.
- Under the ARTICLE ONE Act, a president would still have the power to declare a national emergency, but the declaration of a national emergency will terminate after 30 days, absent the House and Senate passing a joint resolution of approval. The only exception is if Congress is physically unable to convene. In such a case, the 30-day clock would begin running when Congress does reconvene. For true emergencies, 30 days is ample time for Congress to act.
- Sen. Mike Lee introduced the ARTICLE ONE Act in the 117th Congress.
- According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, federal regulations cost nearly $1.9 trillion, or approximately $14,000 per family, annually. If the federal regulatory state alone were its own economy, it would be one of the largest economies in the world. As imposing as regulatory burdens already are, Americans are now facing a four-year period of the Biden administration in which the regulatory state will grow, potentially at a rate it never has before.
- Under current law, Congress may disapprove of a rule issued by a regulatory agency under the Congressional Review Act of 1996. The Congressional Review Act (CRA) required both chambers of Congress to pass a joint resolution disapproving a rule, which would subsequently have to be signed by the president to cancel the rule.
- The REINS Act would amend the Congressional Review Act to require congressional approval of economically significant rules — those with an annual economic impact of $100 million or more — published by regulatory agencies.
- Sen. Mike Lee is a perennial cosponsor and champion of the REINS Act.
A True Fiscal Hawk
Senator Lee is one of very few members of Congress who can claim to be a true fiscal conservative. For decades, regardless of which party is in power, the Federal Government has spent well outside of its means. Lee is unlike the vast majority of his colleagues in that he sticks to his principles once it comes time to vote. He has previously introduced reforms such as a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
CBO Show Your Work Act
- The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides members and staff of the House and Senate with fiscal and economic analyses of legislation and budget forecasts. The CBO, however, is not currently required to show the models and data on which it bases its assumptions.
- While the CBO is an independent, nonpartisan agency, the agency has been criticized for providing inaccurate analyses and forecasts to Congress, including economic projections that failed to predict a significant recession and wildly inaccurate assumptions about the impact of the Affordable Care Act.
- The CBO Show Your Work Act would require the CBO to make the models and data employed to produce its analyses and cost estimates, as well as any details that were used, available to Congress and on the agency’s website. This much-needed transparency will allow interested parties outside of Congress to hold the CBO accountable.
- Sen. Mike Lee introduced the CBO Show Your Work Act in the 117th Congress.
Why it Matters
Principled lawmakers like Sen. Mike Lee are extraordinarily rare in Washington D.C. The conservative grassroots sincerely appreciate his unwavering support for the United States Constitution and conservative principles.
You can follow Sen. Lee’s work in Washington on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Of course, follow FreedomWorks’ coverage of the excellent work of members like Sen. Lee on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
We thank Sen. Mike Lee for his excellent work promoting freedom and fiscal responsibility and are excited to honor him as our member of the month for March 2022. We look forward to watching as he continues the fight for individual liberty.