OGDEN -- A proposed constitutional amendment allowing two-thirds of the states to repeal federal laws would remind lawmakers their policies must reflect the will of the people, U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said Monday.
"Once Congress knows that states have the ability to repeal, they will consider state input (in developing laws)," Bishop, who is sponsoring the Repeal Amendment, told the Standard- Examiner's editorial board.
Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., is co-sponsoring the amendment. Several other members of Congress are also supporting the measure, including U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Sen. Orrin Hatch, both Republicans from Utah.
Currently, the only way states can contest a federal law, regulation or mandate is to bring a constitutional challenge in federal court or to seek an amendment to the Constitution.
The Repeal Amendment would enhance the states' ability to protect the powers reserved to the states as noted in the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, Bishop said.
However, getting the legislatures of 34 states to agree to a repeal would be difficult and purposely sets the bar high to prevent the frivolous use of the amendment, Bishop said.
"If you get that many states, you are doing something significant," he said.
The amendment is nonpartisan, because it would allow states of all sizes and those with traditionally conservative or liberal voters to band together to repeal federal laws and regulations, Bishop said.
Citing an example, he said the amendment could be used to force the federal government to change its policies on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Addressing critics, Bishop said the amendment is not in response to pressure from the Tea Party movement.
Bishop also discussed the federal government's difficulties with immigration reform and security along the border with Mexico.
He said restrictive federal environmental policies are preventing U.S. Border Patrol officers from entering public lands where large-scale human trafficking and drug smuggling are occurring.