Rich Galen

New Year's day 2013. Football games? No.

Parades? No.

Hangover cure? No.

I spent the entire day watching the Chasing Classic Cars marathon on USA as background noise while focused on Twitter following the U.S. House Republicans wringing their hands over what to do about the Senate-passed bill to crawl back up the fiscal cliff.

Without getting into the weeds about things like (according to CNN.com) extending the excise tax carry-over on rum produced in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; a federal tax of which most is paid back to the islands, the big talking point in the Senate bill is increasing the income level on which Federal income tax rates will rise from the President's long-held position of $250,000 for a married couple filing jointly to $450,000 for couples.

Calling a family with an annual income of $250,000 "wealthy" was a tough case to make. Calling a family with an annual income of nearly a half million "wealthy" is much harder to deny.

Dear Mr. Mullings:

Hold it right there, Baba-Louie.

I have here in my hands a copy of the U.S. Constitution what says in Article I, Section 7, Clause 1

"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."

How can this bill, that obviously "raises Revenue" have originated in the U.S. Senate? Isn't that unconstitutional?

Signed,

The National Association of Jail House Lawyers

Yeah, well … you overheard someone at the Starbucks say this and you're trying to sound smart.

What you forget is the House and Senate have been finding ways to bend the rules - even the Constitution - to their benefit since March 4, 1789.

In fact is that what the Senate did was take a bill that had passed the House, H.R. 8, originally introduced by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) in March of last year and titled "The Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012."

That was the bill amended by the Senate ("the Senate may propose .. Amendments as in other Bills") and sent back to the House. There is standard amending language that begins "Delete all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu thereof …" the next 2,700 pages of the new legislation.

The bill was re-titled to the "Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012,} but it was still a House number and so was a Constitutionally acceptable Revenue bill.

Rep. Camp, by the way, is Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee which is the committee in charge of all legislation regarding taxes, so it is still his bill that the president will sign.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.