We are big fans of Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI). If you’ve been reading Eagle Rising for any length of time, you probably already knew this. However, his most recent vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline exemplifies why it is that we love him.
See, Rep. Amash voted “present” on the pipeline.
You may be scratching your head at this point, because you think (and you know we agree) that the Keystone XL Pipeline is a good idea. In fact, we think the Keystone XL Pipeline is a great idea! So why do we love Amash for voting present instead of yes?
Read his reasons for his vote and maybe you’ll understand why we think Rep. Amash is the most principled and honest man in Washington, D.C.
I voted present on H R 3, Northern Route Approval Act. The Keystone XL pipeline is a private project owned by TransCanada Corporation. This bill improperly exempts TransCanada Corporation—and no other company—from laws that require pipeline owners and operators to obtain certain government permits and approvals.
I support construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and holding it up for over four years (with no end in sight) for political reasons is wrong. It’s improper, however, for Congress to write a bill that names and benefits one private project, while doing nothing to address the underlying problems that allowed such delays to occur. The Constitution gives Congress the power “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations,” but the Rule of Law requires that legislation be of general, not specific, applicability. A proper bill would address the circumstances that allow *any* such project to be held up for political reasons, not just Keystone XL.
As F.A. Hayek explained in The Constitution of Liberty: “It is because the lawgiver does not know the particular cases to which his rules will apply, and it is because the judge who applies them has no choice in drawing the conclusions that follow from the existing body of rules and the particular facts of the case, that it can be said that laws and not men rule. Because the rule is laid down in ignorance of the particular case and no man’s will decides the coercion used to enforce it, the law is not arbitrary. This, however, is true only if by ‘law’ we mean the general rules that apply equally to everybody. This generality is probably the most important aspect of that attribute of law which we have called its ‘abstractness.’ As a true law should not name any particulars, so it should especially not single out any specific persons or group of persons.”
My commitment to my constituents when I took office was that I may vote present on legislation in three extremely rare circumstances (this is the 12th present vote out of nearly two thousand votes in Congress): (1) when I could otherwise support the legislation, but the legislation uses improper means to achieve its ends, e.g., singling out a specific person or group for special treatment; (2) when Representatives have not been given a reasonable amount of time to consider the legislation; or (3) when I have a conflict of interest, such as a personal or financial interest in the legislation—a circumstance that hasn’t happened yet and I don’t anticipate happening.
H R 3 uses improper means to accomplish its laudable goal by singling out TransCanada Corporation and its Keystone XL pipeline for special treatment.
It passed 241-175-1.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com