GOP: Senate Obamacare 'Fix' Unconstitutional

Monday, 22 Mar 2010 01:00 PM

By Dan Weil

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The “fix” healthcare reform bill that House Democrats passed Sunday appears to be illegal and thus may not pass the Senate, according to a commentary on Republican.Senate.Gov.

That’s because a reconciliation bill, which is what Democrats are using to evade a Republican filibuster in the Senate, isn’t allowed to include changes in Social Security policy.

But the Democrats’ fix bill does exactly that.

The web site quotes a statement on the bill from the office of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer:

“The Congressional Budget Office estimate of the health care legislation shows an increase in Social Security revenues. … CBO projects that the resulting increase in wages will generate $29 billion in additional FICA contributions to the Social Security Trust Fund.”

But section 310g of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 reads as follows:

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any reconciliation bill … that contains recommendations with respect to the old-age, survivors, and disability insurance program established under title II of the Social Security Act.”

Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, says Democrats won’t even meet to discuss the issue.

“Republicans have been trying to set up a meeting with Senate Democrats to discuss this fatal point of order but have been met with nothing but silence,” he said on the Web site.

“Since Senate Democrats refuse to meet with us and the Parliamentarian, we’ve informed our colleagues in the House that we believe the bill they’re now considering violates the clear language of Section 310g of the Congressional Budget Act, and the entire reconciliation bill is subject to a point of order and rejection in the Senate.”

Even if the health bill passes, it may ultimately prove to be damaging for President Obama – a point on which even liberals agree.

“Let’s face it, he’s failed in the effort to be the non-polarizing president, the one who can use rationality and calm debate to bridge our traditional divides,” wrote liberal essayist Peter Beinart, according to The New York Times.


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