Constitution in the Shredder

The Patriot Post Constitution in the Shredder "We are absolutely giddy over the great news that we've gotten," House Democratic Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) declared Thursday. No wonder. The Congressional Budget Office provided a predictable boost to Democrats this week with its "preliminary" estimate that the updated health care takeover bill (text here1) would cost $940 billion over the next 10 years -- all without adding to the deficit.

If you believe that, we have some oceanfront property in Arizona for sale.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) cooed, "I love numbers. They're so precise." That is, if by "precise" she means bogus. The CBO is required to take legislation as it's written (or, more precisely in this case, how it's described), not necessarily as it will be enacted. The deficit-neutral finding is based on the Demo claim that increased taxes and shuffling Medicare and Medicaid expenses will "save" money. Cutting these entitlements, however, is easier said than done. Additionally, implementation is delayed, meaning there will be hardly any spending for the first few years under the bill. On top of that, a provision was recently added to the bill that ends student loan subsidies to lenders -- which conveniently accounts for nearly all of the $19.8 billion in deficit "reduction" that Democrats are touting.

As we have pointed out numerous times before, however, the money business is almost entirely beside the point. House leaders are trying to foist upon us an unconstitutional nationalization of the health care industry using a cowardly and unconstitutional method, namely, the "Slaughter Rule."

Because of the election of Scott Brown to the open Senate seat in Massachusetts, Democrats were forced to abandon their machinations in the upper chamber, though not before threatening to use "reconciliation" to jam the bill through on a simple majority vote. Now, the House is planning to "deem" the Senate bill passed, rather than vote on it, in a process known as a "self-executing rule." As Mark Alexander2 observed, "'Slaughter' and 'self-executing' may describe both the process and the electoral future of many Democrats in the House."

Columnist Tony Blankley3 explains, "[U]nder the proposed scheme, the Senate bill would be 'deemed' to have passed the House and become law without a presidential signature. Then the Senate would pass the House-demanded amendments, and the House members would then cast only one vote -- for the amendments they like, rather than the underlying Senate bill they hate. Thus (so Pelosi's theory holds) politically protecting House members, who could say they never actually voted for the publicly despised Senate bill." Profiles in courage, no?

Republicans attempted to force an actual vote on the bill, but Democrats defeated that resolution Thursday 222-203. A "vote" -- likely via the Slaughter Rule -- on the Senate bill is tentatively scheduled for Sunday. (Here's a list4 of Democrats who might need a little encouragement.)

Democrats don't care, but Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution5 is pretty clear: "[T]he 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 the bill passes the House via the Demos' trickery, no single bill will have passed both houses. Thus, we have a bill that is disliked by a strong majority of Americans, enjoys strong bipartisan opposition in Congress, and is being rammed into law via unconstitutional means. There's a word for legislation like this: illegitimate.

Barack Obama, a narcissist if ever there was one, has made clear that his presidency hinges on the passage of ObamaCare. Turning up the pressure, Obama met with "undecided" Democrats this week, no doubt to make them offers they can't refuse. After the meeting, Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) said, "We went in there already knowing his presidency would be weakened if this thing went down, but the president clearly reinforced the impression the presidency would be damaged by a loss. He was subtle, but that was the underlying theme of the meeting -- the importance of passing this for the health of the presidency." It should go without saying that Obama's ego is not sufficient reason for trampling the Constitution while wrecking the American health system. But, then again, who says elected Democrats are principled?

This Week's 'Alpha Jackass' Award "I don't spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are in the House or Senate. What I can tell you is that the vote that's taken in the House will be a vote for health care reform. And if people vote yes, whatever form that takes, that is going to be a vote for health care reform. And I don't think we should pretend otherwise. And if they don't, if they vote against it, then they're going to be voting against health care reform, and they're going to be voting in favor of the status quo. So Washington gets very concerned with these procedures in Congress, whether Republicans are in charge or Democrats are in charge. ... By the time the vote has taken place, not only I will know what's in it, you'll know what's in it because it's going to be posted and everybody's going to be able to evaluate it on the merits." --Barack Obama

Translation: The Constitution be damned. More: