Federalism - Understanding the Federal Government's Function : Issue Topics : Lauzen for Congress Committee
|Federalism - Understanding the Federal Government's Function|
|by Chris Lauzen|
Federalism refers to the concept that power is divided between the federal government and the states. I believe that the role of the federal government should be limited, well-defined and consistent with the principles established in the United States Constitution. While others may envision a greater, more active role for Congress in our daily lives, certain matters are more properly subject to local control where citizens are able to have their voice heard and to participate more meaningfully in the process of government. In this respect, Congressional policy and federal legislation should focus on matters of national concern which are not amenable to resolution by state and local political bodies.
Simply put, Congress has become too active in many affairs where local and state governing authorities should have greater input. In a recent debate, certain Democratic presidential candidates actually mentioned that they would consider, and even support, legislation which makes smoking in certain areas a federal crime. This is a perfect example of an issue that demands a local solution, and communities across the State of Illinois are dealing with it effectively.
I have a fundamentally different view of what problems the United States Congress should tackle. Policy issues related to education, families, property rights, and street crime are best handled by those at the state and local level most familiar with them and most familiar with the values of their community. Too often, our citizens feel divorced from the process of governance in Washington, DC. With out-of-control spending and an exploding bureaucracy, the federal government has become monolithic and, too often, non-responsive. By trying to do too much and by meddling in local affairs, the federal government unnecessarily causes divisiveness and impedes prosperity.
I envision a federal government with a clearly defined role: maintaining a strong national defense and principled foreign policy; enforcing immigration laws and border security; promoting fair trade and the hope of democracy around the world, by example rather than force; protecting the instruments of interstate commerce; and ensuring that our national economy fosters growth through spending discipline and responsible fiscal policy. President Ronald Reagan recognized that, too often, government is the problem, not the solution. Keeping this principle in mind, we must remember that local control can solve many of our problems, and not every issue requires a federal solution.
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