The president and the Democratic congressional leadership are fighting furiously to pass, with no Republican votes, the ever-less-popular health bill. An Associated Press poll last week shows that four in five Americans don't want the Democrats to pass a health care bill without bipartisan support, while almost all polls are showing support for the current bill to be at only 25 percent to 35 percent. And all polls show high negative intensity.
The resistance of our governing system to passing so unpopular a bill is so powerful that it has driven Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Chairwoman of the Rules Committee Louise Slaughter -- at least for the moment -- to actually publicly consider violating the constitutional process for enacting laws.
Under their announced scheme, instead of following the constitutional voting process -- i.e., 1) The House first votes for the despised Senate bill, then 2) after that is signed into law by the president and 3) the Senate passes the popular amendments that the House wants, 4) the House votes for that second Senate bill of amendments, which, 5) the President then signs into law -- under the proposed scheme, the Senate bill would be "deemed" to have passed the House and become law without a presidential signature. Then the Senate would pass the House-demanded amendments, and the House members would then cast only one vote -- for the amendments they like, rather than the underlying Senate bill they hate. Thus (so Pelosi's theory holds) politically protecting House members, who could say they never actually voted for the publicly despised Senate bill.
But, as has been pointed out in several venues in the last few days, Article 1 Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution requires that before a bill becomes law, (1) "Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it"; and, (2) "in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively."
It is those two provisions of the Constitution that would be evaded: 1) the House vote, with the names and votes of the individual members publicly published, and 2) the president's signature. That is James Madison's precise 18th century version of transparency and accountability.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.