Since the New Deal, the American people have witnessed the federal government steadily overstep its authority established by the U.S. Constitution. But that just laid the groundwork for the damage that has occurred over the past two years. The snowball started with bailouts for the two housing giants, Fannie and Freddie, followed by the banking and auto bailouts, and then lawmakers drafted an overhaul of our financial industry to establish permanent bailouts. Now Washington is trying to takeover our entire health care system, our energy-supply, and even the job market.

All of these egregious grabs for the American people’s liberties are just symptoms of a deadly disease.  When Washington creates a new federal program, the debate often revolves around the merits of the program.  A few politicians may even bother to debate whether or not we can afford to fund an additional program.  However, no one is asking the most important question: do we have the constitutional authority?

I am a strict, original intent constitutionalist. Before I cast a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, I apply my four-way test: is it right/moral? Is it constitutional? Is it needed? Is it affordable? If the legislation fails the first two questions, I stop there.

Too often, Members of Congress, skip to the third question or even all the way to the fourth question.  This is but one reason that our government continues to grow.  And this never ending expansion leads to more need for revenue – which is squeezed from taxpayers’ pockets.  Enough is enough.

Washington has already demonstrated a complete lack of self-control. In order to restore our nation to the limited government established by our Founding Fathers, the American people will have to demand it—and it requires going back to the beginning.

Understanding that the Constitution is a stable document is the crux to restoring our nation.  If the Constitution is viewed to be ever-changing, it opens the door to wide interpretation by judges and legislators.  We cannot rule by whatever way the political wind blows.  We need something to guide our steps, and the Constitution is our compass. We shouldn’t interpret the Constitution.  We should apply the Constitution.

Our elected officials swear and affirm to protect the Constitution.  Every time we elect leaders who are willing to grow government and infringe on our rights, our liberties are assaulted.

I recently signed the Mt Vernon Statement, which acknowledges that the ideals upon which this nation was founded are under attack.  I remain committed to ensuring that the government performs its duties without violating the boundaries outlined in the Constitution.

Not only will I continue to oppose any legislation that disregards the principles outlined in the Constitution, I will continue my efforts to educate the American people on these issues. However, I cannot do it alone.

I urge Americans to arm themselves with knowledge by re-visiting and re-reading the Constitution and share the information with your friends and neighbors. When you read Article 1 Section 8, you may be surprised to see how few areas the federal government has authority over and how much the authors left to the states. Change in Washington will only come when lit by small grassfires across the country, and you can light that fire of freedom and liberty.

The views expressed by guest bloggers on the Foundry do not necessarily reflect the views of the Heritage Foundation.