Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Republican Senators and Attorneys General Cry Foul

It’s all but a done deal in the Senate. The vote to halt debate and bring the healthcare reform bill to the senate floor for a final up or down vote is all but assured.

From CNSNews:

“‘It looks obvious that that's going to happen,’ conceded Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, after Democrats triumphed on the second of three 60-vote procedural tallies over unanimous GOP opposition”

So now we have senators, like my senator, Junior Senator John Cornyn blasting away at the special deal that Ben Nelson D-Nebraska cut for his state in exchange for getting his filibuster-breaking 60th vote.

From Businessweek:

“Democrats were ‘playing ‘The Price is Right’ by offering sweetheart deals’ to Nelson and other lawmakers to get their votes, Texas Republican John Cornyn told reporters yesterday. ‘The rest of us have to pay the price for these additional sweeteners.’”

Not if you don’t want to counters Nelson:

“‘It’s not a special deal for Nebraska, it is an opportunity to get rid of an under-funded mandate to all the states,’ Nelson said. ‘We’ve drawn a line in the sand and said this is unacceptable’ for all states, Nelson said.”

But this does nothing to quiet the whining in the Senate. As a matter of fact, now 7 state Attorneys General, Republicans all, are chiming in, declaring that this provision in the bill is “unconstitutional.”

Texas AG Greg Abbott being one of them. You know, Abbott, the state AG that crafted the constitutional amendment that outlawed marriage of any kind in the state of Texas?

This opinion on constitutionality, federal constitutionality no less, from this star student of constitutional issues is worth exactly what you’d think it’s worth.

Now I have perused the internet, I’ve Googled it, and frankly I cannot come up with which provision in the US Constitution forbids this kind of deal. And I think the reason I can’t find out what it is, is because the AGs themselves either don’t know themselves or won’t admit to which part of the constitution this runs up against.

I think the latter.

I think they must be referring to the limits on legislative power found in Article 1 Section 9. Where else could it be?

And this is the only thing there that even comes close:

“No capitation, or other direct, tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.”

That’s pretty close. Taxing 49 states but not Nebraska is not in proportion to anything. Except for the fact that since passage of the 13th Amendment that established federal income tax, pretty much nullified any effects of that part of the constitution.

So it’s not a surprise that the Republican AGs pounce on this issue to prevent passage of the healthcare bill. Challenging the constitutionality of the “Nebraska Compromise,” as they call it, is tantamount to a challenge of the constitutionality of collection of federal income taxes.

Something that is near and dear to their hearts.

No comments: