« BACK  |  PRINT

RS

MEMBER DIARY

Why the Slaughter Rule MUST be unconstitutional

Consider for a moment what would happen if the House passed a reconciliation package, deeming the Senate bill passed, but the Senate was unable to pass a reconciliation bill. The president could then sign the Senate bill even though that bill, by itself, didn’t pass the Senate and couldn’t pass the Senate (Nancy Pelosi, in a rare moment of truth, just said her members don’t want to vote for the Senate bill).

We would be in a situation where the ‘same text’ did not pass both chambers. The Senate bill only passed the house by a vote on what was an AMENDED bill, as the core bill couldn’t attract enough votes. Just today cnn reported a few yes votes (Arcuri, Costello, Biship, Giffords) said they could not vote for the Senate bill. The president would thus sign a bill that wouldn’t be able to get a majority vote in one chamber at the time he signed it.

Logically, what is happening is that:

Bill A passed the Senate but failed in the House.                                                                                                 Bill B passed the House but failed in the Senate.                                                                                                 Bill A then becomes law.

This is no different than one chamber passing a bill, the other chamber passing an amended version that then fails in the other chamber, and then one of the two bills arbitrarily being signed into law.

I know I am not really saying anything new here, but if you spend a moment thinking about what could actually happen if the reconciliation bill fails, and what that could mean for the legislative process going forward, it becomes obvious how unworkable, illogical, and unconstitutional the deeming strategy is.

If the chambers pass 2 different bills, which one should be sent to the president?

I would recommend everyone read former 10th circuit judge Michael McConnell’s WSJ editorial on the constitutionality of the Slaughter Rule. It is subscriber only content, but the full text is at Powerline.

Get Alerts