Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

June 17, 2014

LoBIANCO: Republicans seek balance of rhetoric on federalism

How to assert states' rights without risking federal funds is a priority

Indiana politicians have been talking extensively recently about their problems with the size and reach of the federal government, but they often find themselves looking for compromises as a way to ensure federal money continues flowing to the state.

Republican leaders expressed their frustration last week in a pair of very different forums, but with similar sentiments.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, hosted lawmakers from roughly 30 states at the Indiana Capitol to consider ways to call the first constitutional convention since 1787. Frustration over the federal health care law and the national debt are just a few flashpoints for the state lawmakers, who say the federal government has inched its way into many other areas they oversee.

”I think states’ rights and federalism is driving this as much as anything,” Long said Friday, shortly after the meeting of state lawmakers, dubbed The Mount Vernon Assembly, wrapped up.

”We’ve gotten away from that, and this is an effort to take that back on many fronts,” he said. “There’s just not a responsible attitude in Washington, for whatever reason.”

Gov. Mike Pence, who many believe is considering a White House bid in 2016, played on Republican idol Ronald Reagan’s disdain for the federal government in a speech to conservative lawyers and public officials last Friday.

”In his first inaugural address, President Reagan said, ‘It is my intention to curb the size and influence of the federal establishment.’ We all remember that. But he also said it is ‘to demand recognition of the distinction between the powers granted to the federal government and those reserved to the states,’” Pence said.

”My favorite line from that address is, ‘All of us need to be reminded, the federal government did not create the states, the states created the federal government,’” Pence said.

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