Thursday, March 18, 2010

Deem and Pass

So the plan is not to vote on the Health Care bill. Rather, the plan seems to be to vote on a rule change that will cause the bill to have passed a vote.

OK. Suppose that the country is so outraged over this that the Republicans take not only the House (which more or less everyone expects), suppose they take the Senate, too. Could Congress pass a "rules change" that would invalidate this Health Care vote?

And even if the Republicans don't re-take the Senate. Could a Republican House revoke the rule, retroactively (e.g. prohibiting expenditure of government funds in support of any law that did not have an up-or-down vote)?

Frankly, I'm mystified. This has SCOTUS written all over it. And SCOTUS won't want to get between the People, the Congress, and the President. So which circuit is best to file the appeal?


ASM826 said...

Passing this bill without a vote is just a symptom. The bill itself is part of the disease.

Once we were a great country, governed by the rule of law. Now we are proles, governed by clumsy bureaucrats that make up the rules to suit the moment.

Six said...

Apparently Mark Levin is prepared to sue in the District Court for DC.

It remains to be seen whether the court would take up the matter but I think it's only one of many.

doubletrouble said...

States are lining up to distance themselves from this debacle (Idaho passed a law yesterday).

Personally, I think the PT&F circuit would be best...

(Pitchfork, Tar, & Feathers)

wolfwalker said...

Unfortunately, it seems a few years ago the Democrats tried to sue over a Republican use of such a "deemed to have passed" rule, and the court essentially said "we got no jurisdiction."

At this point, our best hope with the courts is that they decide that passing a bill this big is qualitatively different from passing a minor amendment to an existing bill.

Atom Smasher said...

But it seems that the last case referred to above was about a more appropriate use, i.e. it was some sort of budget rider thingie, which actually is what the House rule is for. A whole new massive entitlement, I think they'd have to take another look. Also, this one now has the student loan takeover attached to it, which is also another big vulnerability IMO.

Hey, if I can't make them vote, they can't make me pay. Eff 'em.

wolfwalker said...

Works for me, Atom Smasher. Only one problem: this is the Feds. They can garnish your wages. They can automatically charge your credit card. They can take the money directly from your bank account. They can seize your assets. They can put a lien on your house. They can, in short, take the money without your permission, without ever even looking you in the eye or giving you a chance to object, and there ain't one goddamn f***ing thing you can do to stop them.

No, that's not illegal. They wrote the law. It is what they say it is. It is certainly un-American, but the vermin running Congress right now aren't Americans.

I think there are probably already provisions in the bill to authorize such compulsory payment. No, I can't point to them, but this assemblage of hominid slime molds are so corrupt, so determined, and so desperate that I think they slipped it in, in one of the two thousand pages that nobody has read yet.

No, suing won't help. The US government can't be sued unless it says it can -- that's in the Constitution.

Borepatch said...

Minor point: IIRC you don't need permission to sue on the grounds that a law is unconstitutional. Sue for damages, yes, but if you're trying to get enforcement stopped and a potentially unconstitutional law overturned, you don't need a signed hall pass.

Chris said...

Why would anyone assume that the current Republican party would roll this piece of shit back?

wolfwalker said...

The current Republican party probably wouldn't.

But if we get the kind of electoral sweep that conservatives are dreaming about, the Republican Party of next year won't be the same as the current party. I don't think there can be any doubt that those new congresscritters will have won on a Tea Party type platform, with Tea Party votes. If they stick to that, remember who voted for them and why, and vote the way their supporters want, then yes, they'll vote to repeal this POS.

Jay G said...

From your lips to G-d's ears, wolfwalker.

Bill passed, 222-203, 6 abstentions.


wolfwalker said...

Bill passed, Jay? I don't think so. The vote you're talking about was a procedural one: Republicans forced a resolution onto the House calendar that would have forbidden the "Slaughter rule," and forced a direct up or down House vote on the Senate bill. That resolution was voted on today and lost, 222 to 203 with 6 abstentions.

I'm not clear on what happens next. I know the big vote is still supposed to come on Sunday. Technically it too is a procedural vote, but in reality it's the vote for passage of the Senate bill by the House.