Sunday, October 5, 2008

Gamesmanship and the HR1424 Bail-Out Bill

I wonder how many Americans noticed the Constitutional tramplings and shenanigans Congress pulled to pass the HR1424, the "Let's Seriously Bury the Already Overburdened U.S. Taxpayers with a National Debt That Even Their Grandchildren Won't Be Able to Repay" Bail-Out Bill. It's been a while since I took Civics in High School, but as I recall, a 'bill 'may originate in either House of Congress, however, a 'revenue (or an appropriations) bill' can originate in ONLY the House of Representatives.

Well folks, the House rejected their version of the Bail-Out bill. The Senate decided that to prod things along, they would circumvent the constitutional appropriations bill requirement by "amending" an appropriations bill that had already been approved by the House ... and that had been sent to the Senate for Senate action. They chose to amend the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 which included two lines of 'nominal' appropriations:
  • Section 212 contained only one line related to appropriations: "There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this title (except for section 208).
  • Section 208, Paragraph (f) of the original bill also had a one liner as it related to appropriations: (f) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized to be appropriated to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.
Before their approval, however, they also ensured that their amendment was replete with copious amounts of needless pork, as if the cost of the bill's provisions weren't enough already to ensure the servitude of our grandchildren's grandchildren.

Something tells me the original framers of the Constitution did not intend for the appropriations process to work in this fashion ... and they're probably rolling over in their graves. It will be interesting to see if the ACLU or some other organization files suit against the goverment for violation of the Constitution ... and succeed in making the Bail-Out bill unconsitutional.

By the way ... just in case you're keeping track, HR 1424 increased the national debt ceiling to $11.3 Trillion. On the day George W. Bush took office, the National Debt stood at: $5,727,776,738,304.64. It's now poised to literally double by the time we get him out of office. And given McCain's lack of any economic sense whatsoever, Americans really cannot afford another four years of a Republican (McCain) presidency.

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