DILLON, SC (WMBF) Dillon County leaders are taking a new approach to job creation. A new theme song and brand for the county was recently announced.

"One of things that's most important to me. I've tried very hard to remain here in Dillon, because I've seen the consequences of families picking up and leaving," said Natalia McLeod.

Natalia McLeod has lived in Dillon County her entire life, she has a college degree and wants to put it to use in her hometown, but says there just aren't job opportunities in the county.

"Alive on I-95 is the new brand taking over Dillon County."

Dillon County and state leaders believe the new brand "Alive on I-95" will serve as a catalyst to attract more industry and jobs to the area.

Congressman Tom Rice showed his support for Dillon County's re-branding today. He says he thinks a lack of investment has hindered development in Dillon County.

"I think historically perhaps a lot of the infrastructure investment has gone elsewhere," said Congressman Tom Rice.

Congressman Rice says, "Alive on I-95" is just what the area needs to promote what Dillon County has to offer."

"They got a lot of assets; certainly interstate is a big one, their location on the eastern seaboard. They're halfway between New York and Miami –which is great they got a lot of things going for them," said Rice.

Today's county re-branding is just slightly ahead of a new project county leaders say they are pumping more than ten million dollars into.

"We're proposing, we are working on, we got all the leadership in Dillon County working on a workforce development center for our people in Dillon County that is unemployed," said Haywood Proctor, Dillon County.

For people like Natalia the efforts going into promoting Dillon County are promising.

"I believe this is just a small sign that things are about to get better for Dillon County," said McLeod.

By Ken Baker

FLORENCE, S.C. — U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., will hold a field hearing Friday afternoon in Dillon with several participants to discuss unemployment challenges in rural America.

Rice, who represents much of Florence County and the Pee Dee, chairs the Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access on Capitol Hill, said the hearing will examine ways the government can support economic growth and help create jobs in rural communities.

“While the recession officially ended over four years ago, more than half of the counties in the United States are yet to recover, including many in South Carolina,” Rice said. “Likewise, uncertainty has led to a much slower recovery for small businesses than large businesses. I look forward to discussing with our witnesses what can be done to better foster job creation, particularly in rural areas.”

Those witnesses include Charlotte-based Richard Kaglic, a regional economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Kaglic hinted at his prepared remarks.

“I will be talking about the national and South Carolina economic conditions, currently, and what that might portend for 2014 and what it might mean for labor markets in the state,” Kaglic said. “I will be talking about the U.S. and statewide economy. I won’t be delving down into the details. That will be for others with those areas of expertise.”

While scant on specifics, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker gave insight to employment trends during a Jan. 10 speech, where he gave his personal outlook for 2014. He said from 1983 to 2000, employment increased at an annual rate of 1.8 percent. During the past four years, that number has been just 1 percent because of the size of the working age population growing more slowly than before.

“In addition, I’ve been struck by the large number of accounts I’ve heard of firms having difficulty finding workers with the appropriate skills, in many cases constraining production,” Lacker said. “It appears as if the nature of current technological advances may be shifting the mix of requisite workforce skills more rapidly than in the past, which would impede the rate at which unemployed workers can be drawn back into employment.”

Jeff McKay, executive director of the North Eastern Strategic Alliance, will provide the subcommittee with local perspective from the nine-member region it represents.

“I plan to focus on three things,” McKay said. “How to improve infrastructure and the cost and consequences that could have on the region, any mentoring opportunities from entrepreneurs who have been successful on a national stage and access to capital, which seems to be part of any discussion you hear about with rural, small business growth.”

Joe Jacobs, senior vice president of operations with the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, said South Carolina’s manufacturing situation varies daily.

“That’s the million-dollar question. We’re very busy right now, but it’s up and down,” Lacker said. “I think manufacturing is coming back, but that’s something subject to change almost on a daily basis.”

House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall, II (D-W.Va.) on Jan. 16, 2014 announced the establishment of yet another special panel. The “Panel on Public-Private Partnerships” [identified as P3s] will focus on the use of and opportunities for P3s across all modes of transportation, economic development, public buildings, water, and maritime infrastructure and equipment.
T&I Committee Vice Chairman John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.) will chair the panel; Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) will serve as the ranking member. Duncan also led the Committee’s first special panel of the 113th Congress, which examined the need to improve U.S. freight transportation, and released its report in October. Filling out the panel are Republicans Candice S. Miller (Mich.),?Lou Barletta (Pa.),?Tom Rice (S.C.),?Mark Meadows (N.C.),?Scott Perry (Pa.), and Democrats Peter A. DeFazio (Ore.),?Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.),?Rick Larsen (Wash.), and?Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.)
 
“The panel will examine the current state of P3s in the United States to identify the role P3s play in development and delivery of transportation and infrastructure projects in the U.S., and on the U.S. economy; if/how P3s enhance delivery and management of transportation and infrastructure projects beyond the capabilities of government agencies or the private sector acting independently; and how to balance the needs of the public and private sectors when considering, developing, and implementing P3 projects,” said Shuster. This week, the Transportation Committee held its first hearing on the next reauthorization of surface transportation programs, which it plans to develop this year. The P3 panel’s work can serve as another tool the Committee uses to write that legislation, as well as other initiatives to improve the United States’ ability to utilize available resources and strengthen our infrastructure.”
 
By the rules of the Committee adopted at the beginning of the Congress, the Chairman can establish special panels to serve for a period of six months.

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

The Constitution, many of us learned in grade school, assigns the legislative power to the legislative branch, not the executive. The Constitution also commands that the president “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Unfortunately, President Obama either missed that lesson or considers it inapplicable to his own administration. Thus, his promise-cum-threat, made in the heat of last year’s campaign: “Where Republicans refuse to cooperate on things that I know are good for the American people, I will continue to look for ways to do it administratively and work around Congress.”
 
Obama has delivered on his promise and worked around Congress with breathtaking audacity. In his signature legislative achievement alone, the Affordable Care Act, the president has unilaterally amended the law multiple times, including delaying the employer mandate and caps on out-of-pocket expenses, waiving the individual mandate for certain people, extending tax credits to individuals who purchase insurance through the federal health insurance exchange and ignoring a statutory requirement that Congress and their staff participate in the exchanges. But the president’s audacity doesn’t stop with Obamacare. He has also suspended immigration law, refusing to deport certain young illegal aliens—a major reform that Congress has refused to enact. Similarly, with the stroke of a magisterial pen, he has gutted large swaths of federal law that enjoy bipartisan support, including the Clinton-era welfare reform work requirement, the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law and the classification of marijuana as an illegal controlled substance.
 
So much for the separation of powers.
 
In a desperate attempt to stem the hemorrhaging of legislative power, members of Congress are turning to the courts to enforce their constitutional prerogative. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), for example, filed a lawsuit last week challenging the president’s decision to exempt Congress from the exchanges. And Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) is plotting a broadside attack on executive lawlessness through a resolution, called the Stop This Overreaching Presidency (STOP), that would authorize the House to legally challenge several presidential workarounds. Congressional friend-of-the-court briefs have been popping up in numerous lawsuits challenging Obama administration overreach.
 
But Congress’s ability to reclaim its powers through litigation faces a substantial roadblock in the form of a presumption against congressional “standing.” Standing is a constitutional prerequisite to maintaining a case in federal court; without it, a case is quickly dismissed. A plaintiff has standing when he or she can demonstrate a concrete, particularized injury, caused by the defendant, which can be remedied by a court. Abstract injuries suffered by society at large do not suffice.
 
The Supreme Court seemed to shut the door to congressional standing in Raines v. Byrd (1997), a lawsuit brought by six congressmen who challenged the constitutionality of the presidential line-item veto. The court held that the congressmen lacked standing, because the loss of congressional power they lamented was a “wholly abstract and widely dispersed” injury.
 
The post-Raines presumption against congressional standing is appropriate as a general matter. It is not desirable to allow a single member of Congress, or an ad hoc group of members, to challenge any presidential action with which they politically disagree. Such lawsuits would be abstract, inefficient and potentially destructive to the president’s legitimate authority.
 
But Raines is best understood as establishing only a presumption against congressional standing that can be rebutted in the right circumstances. Indeed, there are powerful reasons why members of Congress should be permitted to sue the president when the situation warrants.
 
First, standing should not bar enforcement of the separation of powers when there are no other plaintiffs capable of enforcing this critical constitutional principle. In Raines itself, for example, the court knew that other plaintiffs, who possessed standing, were waiting in the wings to sue the president. Indeed, in the subsequent case of Clinton v. City of New York (1998), standing was established by several businesses, individuals and a city that had lost tax benefits, and the court then declared the line-item veto unconstitutional.
 
But no other plaintiffs possess standing to challenge several of President Obama’s recent acts. This is because they are “benevolent” suspensions, in which the president exempts certain classes of people from the operation of law. No one person was sufficiently harmed to create standing to sue, for instance, when Obama instructed the Department of Homeland Security to stop deporting young illegal immigrants. Indeed, these actions have helped affected individuals, rather than harmed them, even while shredding the rule of law. In such situations, courts should permit congressional standing as a last resort to enforce the basic constitutional architecture.
 
Second, in Raines, it was an ad hoc congressional group that filed the suit. The court emphasized that the plaintiffs “have not been authorized to represent their respective Houses of Congress in this action, and indeed both Houses actively oppose their suit.” However, when House or Senate rules have a mechanism for designating a bipartisan, official body with authority to file lawsuits on their chamber’s behalf, the case for standing is more compelling. Then, the lawsuit is not an isolated political dispute, but a representation by one of the two chambers of the legislative branch that the institution believes its rights have been violated. These types of serious, broad-based institutional lawsuits should be in a different category than Raines.
 
In United States v. Windsor (2013), for example, the Supreme Court suggested that such official lawsuits are different in character. In Windsor, a surviving member of a same-sex married couple sued to obtain a federal spousal estate tax exemption. The exemption was denied based upon the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage, for purposes of federal law, as one man, one woman. The federal government defended DOMA in the trial court but abandoned its defense at the appellate level. When the Obama administration bowed out, a bipartisan group of House leaders—the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG)—stepped in to defend the law.
 
The Supreme Court found that BLAG had standing to defend DOMA for several reasons. There was a continuing controversy between the plaintiff and federal government, regardless of who was defending the law. Moreover, House rules authorized BLAG to represent that chamber in litigation. It had every incentive to vigorously defend its law. If BLAG could not defend DOMA, the administration’s refusal to defend could have precluded judicial review, posing “grave challenges to the separation of powers,” the court explained, because “the Executive at a particular moment [would] be able to nullify Congress’ enactment solely on its own initiative and without any determination from the Court.”
 
These same considerations would exist in a lawsuit challenging President Obama’s benevolent law suspensions. Such suspensions directly infringe congressional power, setting up a conflict between two branches of government. If a bipartisan group authorized by House or Senate rules authorized a legal challenge, it guarantees a vigorous defense of the law and counsels in favor of judicial review. Most importantly, without judicial review of the president’s suspension, there is literally no other way—short of impeachment—to defend separation of powers.
 
Indeed, the third factor counseling in favor of recognizing congressional standing to challenge benevolent suspensions is the nature of the controversy itself, which is completely unlike the dispute in Raines. There, congressional plaintiffs had failed to stop passage of the Line Item Veto Act and were seeking to undo their political loss via litigation. The court correctly concluded that such “angry loser” situations could not justify congressional standing.
 
But President Obama’s actions have not been blessed by an explicit act of Congress, as was the case in Raines when the president exercised a line-item veto. To the contrary: The suspensions of Obamacare and other statutes defy the plain language of these laws. The fact that the president is exercising this suspension power openly and even brazenly gravely damages the rule of law. A congressional lawsuit would not be about angry losers, but about Congress defending its legislative power and demanding faithful execution of the laws by the president.
 
If congressional standing is denied in such cases, there will be no other way to check such presidential usurpation short of impeachment. This is not something the framers of the Constitution would have sanctioned. As the court observed in Clinton, the president does not have “unilateral power to change the text of duly enacted statutes.” That is an important constitutional rule that the current president apparently thinks he can ignore, but the courts must ultimately be willing to enforce.
 
By DAVID RIVKIN and ELIZABETH PRICE FOLEY
January 15, 2014

 

Congressional speeches are generally hot air: politicians blathering to a largely empty chamber. But on Jan. 9, a discussion in the House of Representatives soared above that mediocrity. For those Americans who worry that Congress no longer cares about preserving the Constitution, the words below will provide reassurance that there are a few people with backbone in Washington, D.C.

Congressman Tom Rice, R-S.C., and several of his 29 co-sponsors defended their resolution calling on the House to sue President Barack Obama in order to compel him to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” as the U.S. Constitution commands. They cited his changes to Obamacare by fiat, his defiance of U.S. immigration law and his waiving the federal work requirement for welfare benefits.

In the past, the Supreme Court has ruled that members of Congress cannot sue the president, and that power struggles between the branches must be resolved politically rather than by judges. Therefore, Resolution 442 has an uphill battle. But the resolution’s backers expressed the bedrock principles of this nation and addressed our gravest danger. Their words are worth remembering. Obama is the danger the U.S. Constitution was written to prevent, because he repeatedly seizes more power than the Constitution allows a president to have.

Tom Rice: “Our Founders, Mr. Speaker, designed a system of government based upon a separation of powers. The legislative branch enacts the laws, and the executive branch, the president, enforces those laws. They did that to protect our very, very fragile freedom. We cannot allow those separations to be eroded. One man who can both make the laws and enforce the laws is more a monarch than a president.

“Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution requires, in part, that the president take care to faithfully execute the nation’s laws. In 1792, when George Washington was faced with enforcing an unpopular whiskey tax, he wrote in a letter that: ‘It is my duty to see that these laws are executed. To permit them to be trampled upon with impunity would be repugnant to that duty.’

“President Obama, on the other hand, has, throughout his administration, picked and chosen which laws or parts thereof he wishes to enforce …

This is not a Republican issue. This is not a Democrat issue. It is not a tea party action. This is not for messaging. H.R. 442 merely recognizes that no American, including the president, is above the law.”

Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga.: “I think about one of my favorite Democratic Senators Robert Byrd from West Virginia — a champion of Article I of the Constitution. He was a Democrat second; he was an American first, defending the Constitution against presidents, Republican and Democrat, who would take the people’s power from Capitol Hill and take it down to the executive branch.”

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla.: “So this was a huge issue for the Founding Fathers. Clearly, it would not have been acceptable to stand up at the Constitutional Convention and say, ‘Yes, the president is going to have the authority and duty to enforce the laws, but if there are laws he doesn’t like, he will be able to delay provisions or ignore provisions as he sees fit, as long as it is consistent with his overall purpose or political agenda.’ That would not have been acceptable to anybody at the time.

“Can you imagine if when John Adams succeeded George Washington, he just started delaying provisions related to the Bank of the United States or the Jay Treaty? Imagine when Jefferson came in. He ran against the Alien and Sedition Act. Some of those were just allowed to expire, but they went in and repealed a core portion of the Alien and Sedition Act. They didn’t just ignore it. The provisions that expired, expired; and then they repealed the provisions that were still in effect.

“That is the way it is supposed to be done. They would never have allowed John Adams or Jefferson to come in and just willy-nilly enforce what they wanted to and not enforce what they didn’t want to.”

These history lessons should be familiar to our constitutional-lawyer president.

 Betsy McCaughey


1/15/2014 11:13 AM

Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and the author of “Beating Obamacare.”