The basic question of Alexander's Essay is encrusted in some somewhat offputting rhetoric (gratuitious use of the president's middle name, reference to his administration as a "regime"), but it is nonetheless an important one: where in the Constitution does it give the federal government authority to mandate individual health insurance or bail out or take over banks, insurance companies, and automakers? The essay reports that Speaker Pelosi, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer were all asked the question, with some illuminating responses that haven't gotten much press attention. The essay also reports on Rep. Michele Bachmann's effort to press the Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, on where the Constitutional authority for his extraordinary actions has come from. And it reports:
In every successive Congress since 1995, conservative Arizona Republican Rep. John Shadegg has sponsored the Enumerated Powers Act (HR 1359), which requires that "Each Act of Congress shall contain a concise and definite statement of the constitutional authority relied upon for the enactment of each portion of that Act."
This time around, the Enumerated Powers Act has 54 co-sponsors, all of them Republicans.