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The Constitution: Another Victim of Obamacare

Posted By Brian Darling On March 12, 2010 @ 11:59 am In Obamacare | Comments Disabled

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Reports yesterday indicated that the Senate Parliamentarian “ruled” that the President must sign the Senate passed version of Obamacare before the Senate can act on a reconciliation measure. This ruling would have blown up plans in the House to use a very complicated procedure to pass both a Senate passed health care reform bill and a reconciliation measure to make change to the bill all at once. This scenario would have allowed the House to avoid a vote on the Senate passed Obamacare bill and they could have avoided the filibuster rule in the Senate (see Health Care Nuclear Option [2]). The liberals are intent on passing Obamacare at any cost [3].

Reports have come out today that the Parliamentarian has not ruled that the President must sign a law before it is considered a law for reconciliation purposes. First, they came up with a strategy to get Obamacare passed in the House without the House ever voting on the bill, now they have come up with a strategy and a ruling to get the Obamacare bill to qualify as law without the President signing the law. President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Reid should not support efforts to violate the clear words of the Constitution to pass Obamacare.

The Constitution [4] says that:

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law.

Just to restate a shocking development in the Obamacare debate; Congressional leaders have found a way to ignore the Constitutional requirement that a law be signed by the President before it is considered a law. Outrage is not a strong enough word for the feelings many American’s have toward elites in Washington, D.C. who will do anything to pass Obamacare.

According to Politico [5]:

Senate Republicans caused a major stir Thursday when they told reporters that the parliamentarian had informed them that the Senate bill needed to be signed into law before lawmakers took up a sidecar bill to fix it. And Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) told his Democratic colleagues during a caucus meeting Thursday that he had heard the same thing.

That was yesterday and today is very different. Now the Parliamentarian is backing away from that ruling according to unnamed sources [6]:

But according to reporting by POLITICO’s David Rogers, the accounts aren’t accurate and misconstrue what the Senate parliamentarians have said. That is that reconciliation must amend law but this could be done without the Senate bill being enacted first. “It is wholly possible to create law and qualify law before the law is on the books,” said one person familiar with situation.

A law is not a law until it is signed by the President according to the United States Constitution. You can’t create “law and qualify law before the law is on the books.” The great irony is that there are no “books” other than the U.S. Code which is a compilation of laws. The moment the President signs a bill, it becomes law. This is true legislative activism to claim that reconciliation can amend a law that is not a law.

More from Politico [6]:

For example, if the big bill itself amends some Social Security statute, reconciliation could be written to do the same –with changes sought by the House. Then if reconciliation is passed and signed by President Barack Obama after he signs the larger bill, the changes made in reconciliation would prevail.

This jives with what Pulse sources were saying soon after the first wave of stories hit – in essence, don’t take the reported parliamentarian’s declaration to the bank.

According to this scenario, if the President promises to sign reconciliation after he signs the bill, then the Constitution does not matter. A law is defined as a bill promised to be signed into law by the President. But this conflicts with the left’s the strategy to pass Obamacare [7]:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other House leaders have come up with a plan to package the Senate passed ObamaCare bill and the House reconciliation measure into one package. The House rules committee will report out a rule that will allow the Senate passed ObamaCare bill to pass the House without a vote. The rule will be self-executing in the sense that the House will have been deemed to pass the Senate ObamaCare bill if the House can muster the votes to pass the reconciliation measure. Now the House has used this unethical procedure in the past during a debate on funding the Global War on Terror and in passing debt limit increases under the “Gephardt Rule.”

This is a true outrage and we as a nation should not tolerate such strong arm tactic to pass legislation in an unconstitutional manner.


Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2010/03/12/the-constitution-another-victim-of-obamacare/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.foundry.org/wp-content/uploads/constitution031210.jpg

[2] Health Care Nuclear Option: http://www.foundry.org/2010/02/19/health-care-nuclear-option-%E2%80%93-liberals-ready-to-launch/

[3] Obamacare at any cost: http://www.foundry.org/2010/03/12/morning-bell-obamacare-at-any-cost/

[4] The Constitution: http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A1Sec7.html

[5] Politico: http://www.politico.com/livepulse/0310/An_option_still_on_table.html?showall

[6] unnamed sources: http://www.politico.com/livepulse/0310/An_option_still_on_table.html

[7] the left’s the strategy to pass Obamacare: http://www.foundry.org/2010/03/10/obamacare%E2%80%99s-procedural-fraud-on-the-american-people/

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