Thursday, March 18, 2010

Deem and Pass, Part 2

Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker issued a warning to Nancy Pelosi about the illegality of Deem and Pass, based on Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution. He posted the article with words about “recording Yeas and Nays” and “names shall be affixed to the bill” and claimed that people will revolt if Congress passes any bill in such an unconstitutional manner.

His argument is rendered spurious by the title of that section, which is, “Revenue Bills, Legislative Process, Presidential Veto.” The first paragraph of that section, which is very short, simply says that all revenue bills must originate in the House. The second paragraph, which Karl cites, deals with overriding a presidential veto. No presidential veto has been incurred, so the requirements which Karl has highlighted do not apply.

The section dealing with routine conduct of Congress is Article 1, Section 5; and the operative paragraph reads,

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

(Emphasis mine) So the argument for the unconstitutionality of passage of “health care reform” is based not only on the wrong portion of the applicable section of the constitution, as I suggested earlier, it’s based on the wrong section altogether.

An argument could be made that the bill is not legitimate because revenue bills must originate in the House, and this one originated in the Senate. Since the House passed a similar bill I’m not sure that argument stands up. I think it’s a fairly crappy bill, and passing it without requiring the legislators to display the courage required to actually vote for it rather reeks, but I doubt seriously that either the bill or its method of passage is actually illegal, or even seriously unethical.

What is distrubing is that the Democrats have displayed such willingness to pass legislation using the same forms of manipulation and maneuvering as the Republicans did. I thought we put them into power to provide more honest and open government.

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