…are we under any obligation to obey it? The answer may be no.
Democrats are considering a scheme that would “deem” the Senate health care bill to have passed the House if a separate event occurs (specifically: House passage of a budget reconciliation bill). That strategy has been named after its contriver, House Rules Committee chair Louise Slaughter (D-NY). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says of this scheme: “I like it because people don’t have to vote on the Senate bill” (emphasis added).
Not so fast, says former federal circuit court judge Michael McConnell in The Wall Street Journal:
Under Article I, Section 7, passage of one bill cannot be deemed to be enactment of another.
The Slaughter solution attempts to allow the House to pass the Senate bill, plus a bill amending it, with a single vote. The senators would then vote only on the amendatory bill. But this means that no single bill will have passed both houses in the same form. As the Supreme Court wrote in Clinton v. City of New York (1998), a bill containing the “exact text” must be approved by one house; the other house must approve “precisely the same text.”
Democrats have already hidden 60 percent of the cost of the Senate bill, effected an obscenely partisan change in Massachusetts law to keep the bill moving, pledged more than a billion taxpayer dollars to buy votes for the bill, and packed the bill with an unconstitutional individual mandate and provisions that violate the First Amendment. It’s almost as if, to paraphrase comedian Lewis Black, Democrats spent a whole year, umm, desecrating the Constitution and at the last minute went, “Oh! Missed a spot!”
And these people want us to put our trust in government.