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The Heck Standard vs. the Goldwater Standard

In explaining his vote yesterday for a bill extending federal transportation funding until after the November elections, Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nevada) wrote in a statement:

“I supported this extension to help ensure that the rug is not pulled out from under construction workers and their families who need consistent work to make ends meet. Nevada has more than 30 projects, including the I-15 project in Las Vegas, that rely on federal funding and our economy cannot afford for those projects to be in jeopardy.”

Really? That’s the standard for evaluating the expenditure of federal tax dollars now? The “needs” of construction workers and their families?

Not to be insensitive to the plight of the few Nevadans who are unemployed – as compared to the vast majority who ARE employed – but I prefer the standard used by the late, great Sen. Barry Goldwater when it comes to evaluating such legislation. In “Conscience of a Conservative” way back in the 1960s, Goldwater wrote:

“I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.”

If Congressman Heck would kindly inform us as to where in the Constitution the federal government is permitted to expend such tax monies for the purposes included in the highway bill extension, we might be more inclined to think favorably on his vote and position. Congressman?


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