Saturday, October 4, 2008

Circumventing the Constitution ...

The emergency bailout plan was passed by the Senate and then passed by the House, and almost immediately signed into law by the President.

Wait what? Isn't this out of order? Senate then House for an appropriations bill?

From the U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 7:

"All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills."

So much for power of the purse, the senate just stole money from the purse. When I first noticed, I wondered: how can a bailout plan be initiated by the Senate? After a bit of research, I figured out just how sneaky the Senator Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, was in passing this.

The Senate voted on H.R. 1424, a bill previously passed by congress back in March 2008, dealing with, among other things, social security, genetic discrimination, and changes to the tax code. The first part of the bailout bill is this: "Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the following: "

So in case you didn't figure out. The Senate took and old appropriations bill passed by the House, gutted the text and replaced with something completely unrelated (the bailout plan) and sent it back to the House for approval. While technically the bill originated in the House, this move violates the spirit of the Constitution. Go democracy ...

Note: I make no opinion about the bailout plan itself here, I am just upset that Congress broke the Constitution to make it pass.