Two bits of good news from U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith, R-VA-9:
Landmark Anti-Opioid Abuse Bill Now Law
In my most recent column, I wrote that legislation to combat the devastating opioid epidemic plaguing our communities – the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524) – had cleared both chambers of Congress and was heading to the President’s desk for consideration. The Energy and Commerce Committee, of which I am a member, has tallied it up and reported that this bill includes more than a dozen bills passed by our committee.
I am pleased to report that this legislation has been signed into law. Democrats and Republicans alike came together and, while we will continue our efforts to help save lives and fight this epidemic, help is on the way.
McAuliffe Order Ruled Unconstitutional
The April executive order of Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) to restore voting and other rights to felons was followed by revelation after revelation of errors or oversights made by the Governor’s office, as well as numerous questions about its constitutionality. As I have said before, while I believe in redemption for all, I also have agreed that the Virginia Constitution is clear: the facts and circumstances of each individual must be reviewed by the Governor’s office.
On July 22, however, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued its opinion regarding constitutionality, and ruled that the Governor’s decision violates the Commonwealth’s constitution.
“Never before have any of the prior 71 Virginia Governors issued a clemency order of any kind — including pardons, reprieves, commutations, and restoration orders — to a class of unnamed felons without regard for the nature of the crimes or any other individual circumstances relevant to the request,” Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons wrote in his majority opinion. “To be sure, no Governor of this Commonwealth, until now, has even suggested that such a power exists. And the only governors who have seriously considered the question concluded that no such power exists.”
In a statement issued soon after the Supreme Court released its ruling, Governor McAuliffe indicated he would work to restore the rights of those felons on an individual basis, as is proper under the commonwealth’s Constitution. He, then, is clearly responsible for knowing exactly who these felons are, what they’ve done, and whether they’ve reformed themselves.
Not only did Governor McAuliffe bend or break the rules in order to achieve a goal – this is happening in Washington’s executive branch as well.
While Republicans have occasionally done this, often to their detriment, the current cast of Washington’s Democratic officials seems to be running rampant.
Examples of this that come to mind include the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and reported delays in basic medical screenings at VA hospitals or clinics, the Department of Energy (DOE) regarding Solyndra, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal in which the agency targeted conservative organizations for their political views, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its regulations already adjudicated by the courts to be improper such as the Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding Obamacare, parts of which have been ruled improper by the courts, etc.
This behavior seems to be not only limited to the Democrats’ policies, but seems to be a part of their politics as well, with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) apologizing to Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VA) for “inexcusable remarks made over email” regarding his campaign for president. In one instance, DNC staff discussed using Senator Sanders’ religious beliefs to undermine or discredit him.
In the wake of those email remarks, the head of the DNC is resigning her post. But other officials in Washington – including bureaucrats of the VA, the DOE, the IRS, the EPA, HHS, etc. – also ought to be held accountable for their agencies’ misconduct which was clearly done negligently or intentionally in violation of the law.
In Congress, I have been fighting to hold agencies accountable when they break the rules, do something harmful, or are way off base. Administration bureaucrats must be held responsible, and this fight will continue.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.