Official censorship is not just a paranoid fantasy. There are proven occasions of it. For instance, Biden government bureaucrats have threatened social-media companies with retribution, including antitrust lawsuits, if they do not censor speech that progressives dislike. This is why the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that Biden officials had violated the First Amendment by colluding with tech platforms to squelch politically disfavored speech about Covid and elections. And Shontel Brown has not uttered a word about this.
Shontel Brown actually opposed a House initiative to combat government censorship. She voted against H.R. 140, the Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act. This law would have prohibited federal agencies and officials from using their power to censor speech. It also would have prohibited government coercion of private companies to affect lawful speech. A law upholding First Amendment restriction on government censorship should have had her full support. After all, she swore an oath to support the U.S. Constitution.
Shontel Brown also never mentions over regulation by the administrative state. James Madison wrote that freedom is most often abridged by “gradual and silent encroachments of those in power.” The Biden Administration has imposed more regulatory costs on the economy than any administration in recent memory, according to the Wall Street Journal. Government spends too much and does too much. It uses regulatory “mandates” to force others to spend resources. Mandates affect state and local governments and also private individuals and companies. Shontel Brown is silent about all of this. She raises no objection to these encroachments upon freedom.
One example of federal over regulation is a proposed 696-page rule requiring all passenger cars to achieve 66.4 miles a gallon. This is too much change mandated too soon. Consumers will suffer when new automobiles become expensive as present cars need replacing. Another example is a proposed 236-page policy requiring all federal agencies to consider “environmental justice.” This policy never defines “justice.” It puts the unelected too much in charge of everyone. Shontel Brown lists “environmental justice” as one of her objectives. She is a supporter of utopian programs that are neither economically viable nor socially productive.
Another example is the recent announcement of the Environmental Protection Agency of its plans to enforce a climate agenda though “a suite of rules” imposed under programs with no credible connection to climate. Congress never approved of EPA doing this. But the EPA is proceeding anyhow. It chooses to ignore recent Supreme Court rulings about the limits of bureaucratic authority. This is administrative tyranny of the worst kind. It does not matter whether some objectives sought may be praiseworthy. The way these objectives are being forced on the public by an unelected bureaucracy is terrible. It totally is inconsistent with democracy. This poses a serious threat to freedom.
Proposed H.R. 1640 – the Save Our Gas Stoves Act demonstrated yet another example of bureaucratic overreach. The House offered this resolution in response to attempts by the Energy Department to regulate gas stoves or prohibit new construction from installing gas stoves. Shontel Brown vigorously defended the administrative state. She claimed these regulations only were meant to guarantee energy efficiency and safety. She voted NO on H.R. 1640. I would have vote in support of it. These regulations are just one step in a progressive war against natural gas. That war intends to decrease free choices. Everyone deserves freedom to decide for themselves whether particular gas appliances are efficient and safe enough. In a free market system, their choices and competition will cause the gas industry to improve energy efficiency and safety. Consumers do not need supervision by the nanny state that Shontel Brown favors.
Proposed H.R. 277, the Regulations from the Executives in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2023 would have reasserted Congress’ role in supervising the adoption of such regulations by unelected bureaucracies. It would have required congressional approval for new “major rules” proposed by federal agencies. Shontel Brown voted NO on H.R. 277. I would have voted otherwise. Without effective congressional oversight, the Administrative State will become an unelected and unconstitutional fourth branch of government.
Shontel Brown is part of the problem and not part of the solution.