Conservative Political Commentary

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is Steny Hoyer Right? People Don’t Care about Process?

Is the process used in Congress to pass a law something people care about? Steny Hoyer doesn’t think so.

As has been publicized, supposedly against the wishes of Washington Democratic leaders, the House is considering using a convoluted and rather obviously unconstitutional plan referred to as the “Slaughter Rule.” It is named after Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), who proposed using it to approve the Senate health care bill (“deem it passed”) without voting on it. Only the desired changes would be voted on, then sent to the Senate.

As if “reconciliation” weren’t bad enough, this “Slaughter Rule” is infuriating to opponents of the bill, which would be a sizable majority of American likely voters, and the Republicans in Congress. There has been and will be a loud outpouring of righteous indignation over the cynical and possibly illegal methods being used. To the extent that citizens are paying attention, they largely oppose the reprehensible methods used and to be used in this sorry perversion of the normal process.

An Associated Press article reports that, defending the possible use of the “Slaughter Rule,” [t]he Maryland Democrat [House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer] also said the public didn't care about process but about results, and that the approach Democrats are weighing would result in enactment of President Barack Obama's landmark legislation to extend coverage to tens of millions of uninsured and create new insurance market protections for nearly everybody else.” [1]
(Emphasis added).

Well, someone had better be caring about process. This administration and Congress are willing to throw out the Constitution and, apparently a lot of political careers, to give Obama this legislation. If they’re willing to seriously suggest, let alone use, such methods to get their fascist-socialist plans enacted, what comes next? Maybe President Obama could just issue an Executive Order? But I don’t want to give him any ideas.

Unprecedented
Democrats argue that the plan has been used before, mostly by Republicans. Brian Darling at RedState writes, “The fact of the matter is that there is no precedent for the House to pass a bill without a direct vote by using a budget reconciliation measure as a trigger and a means to pass ObamaCare. Nancy Pelosi’s potentially unconstitutional strategy to pass unconstitutional ObamaCare is without precedent nor justification.” [2]

“Slaughter Rule” Is Unconstitutional
If Democrats can do these things without effective opposition, our constitutional republic is in serious danger. I don’t think Americans are going to accept such lawlessness. If this bill is passed, or “deemed passed,” the Supreme Court is going to have a case (one or more) to feast upon, and probably shoot the whole thing down.

As The Wall Street Journal points out,
“This two-votes-in-one gambit is a brazen affront to the plain language of the Constitution, which is intended to require democratic accountability. Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution says that in order for a ‘Bill’ to ‘become a Law,’ it ‘shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate.’” [3]

Accountability
Everyone who votes for the bill itself now, or for the “Slaughter Rule,” will be held accountable in November. These votes will not simply be forgotten. Voting for the “Slaughter Rule” will be as bad as, and probably worse than, voting for the bill. House Members who aren’t in a safe liberal district like San Francisco (Pelosi) will find the going tough in November if they vote Obama’s way.

I have to hope these desperate measures of the Democrats fail. This is one attempt at legislation that needs to buried and forgotten.



[1] Associated Press, “Dems defend plan to push health care through House without vote,” 03/16/2010, at New York Post online.

[2] Brian Darling, “ ‘Slaughter Rule’ Strategy Unprecedented,” 03/16/2010, RedState.com.


[3] The Wall Street Journal online, Opinion Journal, “The Slaughter House Rules,” 03/16/2010.


Photo: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, official portrait.

2 comments:

The Conservative Leftist said...

Both the House and the Senate have passed comprehensive health care bills through regular order. The GOP forced Reid to come up with a supermajority in the Senate but yes, eventually the Senate did pass a health care bill without using reconciliation. And the House then passed a similar one.

So what we are waiting on is the House to pass the Senate version of the bill, and then pass some additional amendments, which the Senate will then take up using reconciliation. So...what's the problem? That's standard procedure and totally legal. I mean, it's essentially really boring, really basic procedural maneuvering that one would expect.

The right is lying about this, plain and simple. I suppose they're hoping this lie will stick (Death Panel Part II??) in hopes to confirm the belief Fox News viewers hold that this President and Congress are somehow illegitimate and anti-American.

New Time poll shows a plurality of voters support passing the bill:

http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2010/03/16/on-health-care-a-divided-nation/

Eddie said...

Thanks for your comment. You do a good job of stating your case. But the process is important. "Reconciliation" has been used before by both parties, but not on bills of this magnitude, a bill supported by only one party.

While the reconciliation process can be defended, the "Slaughter Rule," in my opinion, is unconstitutional, whether previously used or not.

Rasmussen as of March 15 reports that 43% of likely voters support the bill and 53% oppose it. This includes 23% who strongly favor it and 46% who strongly oppose it.

Raising objections to the process has mainly been done to point out the fact that the Democratic leadership is determined to pass some kind of "health care reform" regardless of content. Remember the bill was supposed to passed with little to no debate or public discussion, but a public outcry headed that off.

The government has no constitutional authority for this type of takeover. Also, the only way this trillion-dollar-plus bill will reduce the deficit is if taxes are increased by more than its cost.
This is the formula for a protracted recession and even higher unemployment.

I'm sure the CBO is more reliable than the political leaders. Their current estimate is preliminary, but possibly correct, given the information they have.

I do appreciate your comments.