Monday, March 15, 2010

The Shell Game Shuffle - Let the Games Begin

The House released the reconciliation bill tonight with little fanfare. Before you rush off to read the 2300 page tome be forewarned the bill is not likely to be the actual reconciliation bill.  It is merely a shell.  Ezra Klein, chief cheerleader for all things ObamaCare at The Washington Post explains, this is just like an artist painting over an old canvas.  It all sounds so perfectly charming and harmless that way doesn't it?  Here is the nitty gritty:
Ryan said that he expects Democrats to begin the complex process on Monday, under which they would have the Budget Committee approve a phantom bill by midnight, which they will then send over to the Rules Committee. At that point, the Rules Committee will strip out all of the language in the phantom bill, and insert the changes to the Senate bill that Democrats have negotiated.

"They don't have the votes right now, but they're creating the vehicle so that they can airdrop in whatever changes they want," Ryan said.
 What was released, therefore, is the phantom bill that will have the language stripped to be replaced with whatever the heck the Democrats feel like putting in there.  They could also leave a few things in there like the public option that causes a fevah in the left at mere mention of the words.  The Democrats have added a little bonus though, the plan to nationalize the student loan industry, despite the inevitable job losses that would follow, to make voting for ObamaCare a bit more palatable for those who might choke on their vote.

Paul Ryan issued a detailed evaluation of the numerous hurdles facing Democrats in choosing to go the reconciliation route.  He also wrote a great op-ed for The Washington Post outlining what legitimate reform should and could look like if Democrats were not so hell-bent on passing their fiscal disaster on a strictly partisan basis. In addition to the procedural hurdles, there is great risk of constitutional challenges that appear to be well founded.  Michael McConnell, professor and director of Stamford's Constitutional Law Center writes:
The Slaughter solution attempts to allow the House to pass the Senate bill, plus a bill amending it, with a single vote. The senators would then vote only on the amendatory bill. But this means that no single bill will have passed both houses in the same form. As the Supreme Court wrote in Clinton v. City of New York (1998), a bill containing the "exact text" must be approved by one house; the other house must approve "precisely the same text."

These constitutional rules set forth in Article I are not mere exercises in formalism. They ensure the democratic accountability of our representatives. Under Section 7, no bill can become law unless it is put up for public vote by both houses of Congress, and under Section 5 "the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question . . . shall be entered on the Journal." These requirements enable the people to evaluate whether their representatives are promoting their interests and the public good. Democratic leaders have not announced whether they will pursue the Slaughter solution. But the very purpose of it is to enable members of the House to vote for something without appearing to do so. The Constitution was drafted to prevent that.
While we may take some comfort that there are reasonable grounds on which to challenge this blatant power grab by the Democrats, it would be far better if this never makes its way into law.  While the Democratic leadership attempts to hold their persuadable members in Washington so they will not have an opportunity to hear from their constituents, they can't stop the constituents from coming to Washington.

Bring a pitchfork, well maybe not.  In all honesty, I think it is possible this will be the law of the land by this time next week unless we act.   There is still time time to make our voices heard.

For More please read: Another Black ConservativeThe Other McCainDoug RossRedState and Riehl World View,  Maggie's Notebook and Michelle Malkin
Follow the growing thread at Memeorandum

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Web Analytics