The Congressional Reform Act of 2011

Posted on July 30, 2011

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We, the people, are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts; not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” — Abraham Lincoln

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” — Patrick Henry

There is no distinctly American criminal class – except Congress.” — Mark Twain

With these insights in mind, I propose the immediate implementation of the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: The Congressional Reform Act of 2011

(Sign the Congressional Reform Act of 2011 petition here)

Article 1. No member of Congress shall serve a period of more than six years in office, consecutively or by separate election, regardless of position, party affiliation or circumstance.

Article 2.  Congress shall be subject to – without exception – all laws enacted within the United States of America, regardless of circumstance or intent. Congress shall neither receive nor be afforded any dispensation, immunity, excuse or recusal from the penalty of law in all cases relating to their individual behavior, indiscretion and/or participation in or knowledge of an act that is deemed illegal.

Article 3. All members of Congress shall collect a salary of no more than $125,000 per year while serving in office and receives no pay, benefits or incentives when not serving in office.

Article 4. Other than Congressional salary, no member of Congress shall be allowed or able to personally or peripherally profit from their activities of Congress at any time during their period of service, or from any legislative actions in which they are principally, materially or peripherally involved or able to influence, or any legislative action that creates or consists of a direct or ancillary conflict of interest. Any action resulting from personal profit through either knowledge of or involvement in the activities of Congress by a member of Congress shall be inarguably construed as profiteering and shall be subject to the full weight of applicable law without exception or interpretation – as determined in Article 3 of this Amendment.

Article 5. Congress shall not have the ability to increase Congressional pay or benefits. Congressional pay will rise only upon approval by a simple numerical majority of citizens of the United States via full public disclosure prior to implementation of any financial adjustment. With a citizen majority approval, Congressional pay and/or incentives shall only increase by either 3% or the federal Cost of Living Allowance, which ever is lower. Any adjustment to Congressional compensation shall be merit-based, and in no way automatic, obligatory or expected as an entitlement of Congress. Congressional pay and/or benefits shall not be increased more than one time in any four-year period.

Article 6. No member of Congress shall, under any circumstances, accept or receive any form of payment, gift, compensation, remuneration, incentive or offering – regardless of amount – from any individual or group that has any business, concern or proposal – past, present or future – under consideration or proposed for action by any element or component of the United States Congress. Violations of this amendment shall never, under any circumstances, be treated as other than a violation of law(s), and shall therefore be subject to the full penalty of applicable law(s) without equivocation.

Article 7. Congress (past, present & future) shall participate in the United States Social Security program with no alternative or opt-out option unless such an option is available to all American citizens. All funds in the current Congressional retirement fund and accounts shall be moved into the Social Security system immediately.  All members of Congress are taxed equitably by the Social Security system. No cap or restriction of any kind shall be imposed on the amount of income that is subject to the existing Social Security tax rate. Social Security funds shall never, under any circumstances, be used for any purpose other than the payment of benefits to legitimate, tax-paying Social Security recipient citizens of the United States.

Article 8. No member of Congress shall have access to any form of tax reduction, exemption or deduction that is not available to any American citizen, regardless of income or position.

Article 9. No member of Congress shall have access to or the ability to obtain any health care options and services that are not available to the common individual citizen, regardless of income level. All members of Congress shall obtain their health insurance coverage and services from the commercial industry market as available to all common American citizens. No member of Congress shall have access to any health care insurance or service that is not available to an American taxpayer at the lowest income level.

Article 10. No member of Congress shall, under any circumstances, introduce or include any legislation, amendment, consideration or proposal into any bill that does not directly and clearly relate to the primary subject and focus of said bill. The applicability of all secondary proposals, amendments, riders and additional legislation presented for inclusion in any given bill shall not be subject to the interpretation, will or intent of the member of Congress proposing it. All issues, singular or otherwise, shall be acted upon as separate and distinct legislation of its own merit and accord.

Article 11. All members of Congress shall conduct themselves in accordance with the stated will of the electorate as a whole. No member of Congress shall ever act or perform on behalf of any specific sub-group or segment of the electorate, or by dictation of the statistical or implied will of any representative of any individual or group who does not represent the United States of America as a unified entity.

Article 12. No legislation, regardless of intent or content, shall be debated or delayed for longer than 30 calendar days. Upon the 30th day, if passage has not been achieved, a simple numerical majority up-or-down vote shall be implemented and voted upon on that day and shall not be postponed or delayed further for any reason.  Any request or attempt to delay legislation must be fully disclosed to the American public immediately on that 30th day or before.

Article 13. No legislation shall be presented or acted upon that has an implementation or effective date that exceeds five calendar years from the date of the legislation becoming law.

Article 14. No member of Congress shall exclude or recess themselves from session when national legislation remains unresolved. No member of Congress shall recess for the purpose of delaying or politicizing any given issue or item of legislation. No member of Congress shall implement tactics or behavior that in any way impedes the completion of legislative action. No member of Congress shall engage in any activity that impacts legislation that occurs for any purpose of evasion or mental reservation. Failure to comply with this Article shall be cause for immediate and permanent removal from office.

Article 15. No part or parcel of this Amendment shall be subject to interpretation or circumstantial revision by any individual or group without the expressed consent of a numerical majority of registered American voters. Any future modifications, amendments or new legislation that alters or conflicts with any segment of this Amendment shall not invalidate this Amendment in its entirety.

Article 16. All existing or pending contracts with any and all members of Congress – past, present and future – are null and void, immediately and permanently upon passage of this Amendment.

(Sign the Congressional Reform Act of 2011 petition here)

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