Friday, March 19, 2010

Slaughtering the Constitution

I felt I could provide some clarity on the Slaughter Rule being used to push Obama/Pelosi/Reid healthcare through the Congress.

The Slaughter Rule (a.k.a Deem and Pass, or as I call it Demon Pass) is a procedure being used in a new manner to pass legislation in Congress. Previously, the Demon Pass was used on the changed portion of a bill passing through Congress. A vote is taken on the passage of the underlying legislation, and certain changes to the legislation are deemed passed at the same time as that vote. This time, they are voting on the changes while deeming the underlying legislation passed. So, the underlying legislation (the Senate version of ObamaCare) is not being voted on by both the House and the Senate, the House is only voting on the changes while deeming the Senate bill as passed. At this point, the Democrats will submit the Senate bill to Obama for signature. Once he signs the Senate bill, it becomes the law of the land.

The changes to the Senate bill, which the House will actually Demon Pass, will go to the Senate for reconciliation. Reconciliation requires a simple majority of the Senate. Those items that are not strictly budget related can be challenged, and those not conforming to the "Byrd Rules" are ruled out of order by the Senate Parliamentarian. The Parliamentarian's rulings can be ruled out of order by the Senate President (the VPOTUS). If the challenge stands, the changes can be enacted with a supermajority of 60 Senators.

Reconciliation can only be performed on an enacted law, so once the Demon Passed legislation is through the House, and the bill signed by there is little or no incentive to perform reconciliation on the newly signed law. The Senate would require supermajorities to enact those clauses of the reconciliation package that are challenged, of which there are several. So, reconciliation will probably be impossible to pass. The current Senate Bill will be the law of the land forever.

The only hope will be that the Supreme Court finds the process unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has been reluctant to hear such cases in the past, but they have done so, rarely, as I mentioned above.

This is whole process, in my opinion, clearly in conflict with the words and spirit of Article I of the Constitution, and also in conflict with the most recent precedent (mid-1990's) of the Supreme Court.

No comments: