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House Dems Try to Pass Obamacare Without a Vote

The Slaughter Solution

We are hearing word that House Democrats, led by House Rules Chairman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) are attemping an end-run around one of the most basic Constitutional principles taught in Junior High Civics – the mechanism by which a bill becomes law. Article 1, Section 7 of the constitution is clear:

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. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

This mechanism, of course, is referred to in Constitutional and legal shorthand as “bicameralism plus presentment,” which stands for the basic premise, stated above, that before a bill can become law, that bill must be passed by BOTH chambers of Congress and be presented to the President for either his veto or his approval. It is obvious to any thinking person (and indeed even to members of Congress) that if the House passes one bill and the Senate passes a different bill touching on the same topic, this does not equate to the same bill having passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate, per Article 1, Section 7. Which is why, as they teach you in junior high, when the Senate and House pass different versions of a bill, they must hammer out their differences in a conference committee, and then the compromise bill (to the extent it contains changes from the bill passed by both chambers) must be sent back to *both chambers* for a vote, so that both chambers of Congress will have in fact passed the same bill. This is also why, after the election of Scott Brown, Democrats have found it necessary for the House to pass the Senate bill exactly as-is, knowing that compromise bill between the two will be defeated after it returns from the Senate.

Having determined that they lack the votes in the House to pass the Senate bills as-is, House Democrats are attempting one of the most breathtakingly unconstitutional power grabs ever witnessed – a maneuver to deem the Senate bill ALREADY PASSED by the House by rule, despite the fact that it clearly has not. Now, as we have constantly reminded our ahistorical liberal friends who have already forgotten all of 2002-2006, the filibuster is constitutional because it is a Senate rule of debate, which is expressly authorized by Article I’s delegation of power to each house of Congress to set its own rules of debate. Apparently, some Democrats can’t seem to tell the difference between a rule of debate and just declaring by rule that the House has passed a bill that they have not, when the Constitution itself expressly states that “in all [] Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays[.]” What Slaughter and Pelosi here are attempting here is a blatant violation of the principles of bicameralism and presentment.

And unlike other Unconstitutional things Congress does, there’s caselaw here suggesting pretty clearly that when Congress attempts to pass a law in the absence of proper bicameralism and presentment, a person negatively affected by Congress’s action (e.g., a person required to pay a fine for not having health insurance) has standing to challenge the law’s validity in the Courts. This farce is illegal and unconstitutional on its face, and someone has to be advising the Democrats in the House of this fact. They already know the American people don’t want this bill. They know by now that what they’re trying to do is illegal. The question now is whether they still have the shame to care about either.

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