This afternoon around 3:00 p.m., Senators Ensign and DeMint will force the Senate to vote on the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the health care bill. Along the way, Senator DeMint just pulled another trick out of his hat.He is going to ask the Senate to suspend its rules and consider another amendment to the health care bill.That will take a two-thirds vote of the Senate to consider.And what is his amendment? It is similar to an amendment both Senators DeMint and Dick Durbin (D-IL) offered up to S.1, the ethics reform package that Congress considered in 2007. That amendment passed the Senate 98 to 0, but was then stripped out in closed-door negotiations before S.1 was passed by the Congress.The amendment would not apply to the health care bill, but would apply to all future legislation and would prohibit bribing Senators with earmarks in exchange for votes.The amendment’s actually language reads:
(a) IN GENERAL.—It shall not be in order in the Senate to consider a congressionally directed spending item, a limited tax benefit, or a limited tariff benefit, if a Senator, Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner has conditioned the inclusion of language to provide funding for a congressional directed spending item, a limited tax benefit, or a limited tariff benefit in any amendment, bill, or joint resolution (or an accompanying report) or in any conference report on a bill or joint resolution (including an accompanying joint explanatory statement of managers) on any vote cast by any Senator, Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner.