Super Congress, Super Committee … super hyperbole; Update: More Constitutional nonsense from Napolitano

posted at 12:50 pm on August 4, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Since the final versions of the debt-ceiling compromise proposals first got floated, the notion of a “super Congress” has banged around the Internet with all of the accuracy one might expect from e-mail chain letters.  Unfortunately, it’s also seeping into the national debate.  Andrew Malcolm notes an appearance by Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul calling the panel created by the compromise unconstitutional:

The 76-year-old retired OB-GYN, who is seeking the GOP presidential nomination again, said he was appalled at the ad hoc 12-member bipartisan committee devised to find further federal spending cuts before Thanksgiving, what he calls “this super Congress.”

According to this week’s agreement, the committee, three members of each party from each chamber, must do the job Congress is supposed to do but hasn’t or can’t. And if it doesn’t, then other automatic cuts occur by year’s end. Not unlike legislative cruise control.

“Where in the world did that come from?” Paul demanded. “And where is that going to lead to? That is monstrous. I keep looking and I can’t find any place in the Constitution where we have the authority to create such a creature as the super Congress.”

Survey USA did a national poll this week asking people what they thought of several different types of structures mentioned by the media and politicians as a possible component of the compromise.  The results should provide for a few facepalm moments:

  • 39% say a “Super Congress” is unconstitutional
  • 20% say a “Super Committee” or a “Cost Cutting Committee”  is unconstitutional
  • 17% say a “Bipartisan Commission” is unconstitutional

None of them got a majority to say that those structures are constitutional. The crosstabs on this are rather instructive, too, especially on the most provocative term, “Super Congress.”  Forty-three percent of Republicans consider it unconstitutional, with 56% of “strong Republicans” agreeing.  More than half of Republican-leaning independents believe it violates the Constitution as well.

The fact is that the terms all describe the same thing — and that it’s not just constitutional, it’s utterly routine.  Congress has the authority to create committees, which should be painfully obvious, given the proliferation of standing committees and subcommittees on Capitol Hill.  Congress can authorize ad hoc committees as well as standing committees, and have done so repeatedly for various purposes.  Those committees still report to Congress, and are bound by the authority of Congress and its limitations.

In this case, Congress has authorized an ad hoc committee to deal with budgetary matters.  They still have to report their findings back to the full Congress, which will vote to approve or disapprove their proposal; the ad hoc committee cannot pass anything directly into law or send anything directly to the President’s desk.  Congress as a whole agreed to this in the debt-ceiling compromise, including the rules that forbid amendments to the report and force a majority-rule up-or-down vote at the end.  Constitutionally, Congress can set its own rules — both chambers do so at the beginning of every session — and so this also is not just constitutional, but again utterly routine.

Are such committees good policy?  Generally speaking, no; they tend to let Congress escape some of the blowback of unpopular decisions.  However, they are certainly legitimate within the Constitution.  How a man can serve in Congress for more than a dozen terms and suddenly believe that committees offend the Constitution is beyond imagination.

Update: Bunkerville quotes more nonsense from Judge Napolitano, who should know better:

Members of the Senate and members of the House have the opportunity under the Constitution to debate items that are sent to them and to modify items that are sent to them. To force them to vote just yes or no with no debate, not to follow the rules of the House, which permits amendments, not to follow the rules of the Senate, which permits a filibuster, is such a substantial removal of the authority the Constitution gave them that this legislation is treading in waters that might not be constitutional.

Where to start with this?  First, I’d point out that filibusters can’t be used on budget bills anyway, which is why the “reconciliation” strategy on ObamaCare worked.  That’s only the first problem with Napolitano’s statement.  The Constitution does not provide the Senate with a filibuster; it is mentioned nowhere in the document.  The only supermajorities required by the Constitution are on veto overrides and on amendments to the Constitution itself.  The filibuster is a Senate rule which does not apply in all cases, and which can be eliminated at any time by the Senate if two-thirds of the members vote to dispense with it.

Neither does the Constitution require that bills have an opportunity for amendments.  In fact, it doesn’t even require debate, only a vote for passage of legislation.  Rules concerning debate and amendments are passed in the Rules Committee in each chamber for each bill presented; in the House, bypassing the Rules Committee then creates a requirement for a two-thirds vote, but only because the House has a standing rule to that effect.  The Rules Committees routinely limit amendments, sometimes to zero, depending on the circumstances.

So what do we have in this agreement?  An ad hoc committee has been formed with pre-agreed rules for debate and vote, none of which violates the Constitution or the standing rules of either chamber of Congress.  It may not be a wise process to deal with the situation, but the argument that it violates the Constitution is laughable on its face.

Update II, 8/10: Er, chamber of Congress, not of Commerce.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

OFF-TOPIC and BREAKING!

Gunman on the loose at VaTech

BobMbx on August 4, 2011 at 12:52 PM

I hope that Paul files suit against Congress for taking away his Constitutional rights as a Congressman.

huckleberryfriend on August 4, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Basically, the Super Committee is another commission.

Apologetic California on August 4, 2011 at 12:55 PM

It would be constitutional if it was called a “blue-ribbon” Super Congress.

rickyricardo on August 4, 2011 at 12:56 PM

“Nonsense on stilts” sums it up nicely.

iurockhead on August 4, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Who needs the Congress when you have the SUPER Congress!

SuperCongress…..aka Saurons Ring Wraiths!!

PappyD61 on August 4, 2011 at 12:59 PM

I think it’s unconstitutional, however one has to wonder….will they be wearing capes?

milwife88 on August 4, 2011 at 1:00 PM

It’s not unconstitutional as I understand it….just appalling that once again everyone is scared to stand on principle. Let’s let someone else make a tough decision…I just want to get reelected.

search4truth on August 4, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Grandpa is off his meds again…

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on August 4, 2011 at 1:01 PM

If Executive Orders don’t bypass the consent of Congress then a committee of lemmings will work. Obama is so anti-American in everything he does, its almost as if we have been taken over by an adversary foreign to our country.

volsense on August 4, 2011 at 1:01 PM

It should be a Blue Ribbon committee.

Because, you know, those are the BEST kind.

PackerBronco on August 4, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Super Committee
Super Congress
Super Delegates

I can’t keep up and I can’t stomach watching anymore.

Knucklehead on August 4, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Its not the fact that there is a committee that anyone disagrees with. It is the way this particular one is set up.

bingsha on August 4, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Hyperbole? That’s nothing.

I wonder how “Super Comintern” would poll?

Or maybe “Committee of Public Safety”?

Or “Super Serial Supreme Soviet”

Or my personal favorite: “the Politburo”?

forest on August 4, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Super Congress?

Been tried before.

Not here. But it has been tried. And from what I recall, not all that successfully, either.

Chairman of the Communist Party.

Secretariat.

Politburo/Presidium. (Super Congress)

Central Committee.

Congress of the Communist party.

Congress of People’s Deputies.

…..
…..
…..

…..

Peasants. (us)

[If we can supposedly accomplish all the key decisions with just 12 angry men...why have a huge Congress anyway? ]

coldwarrior on August 4, 2011 at 1:12 PM

It should be a Pabst Blue Ribbon committee.

Because, you know, those are the BEST kind.

PackerBronco on August 4, 2011 at 1:02 PM

fify

esnap on August 4, 2011 at 1:13 PM

WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THIS ARTICLE ED?

I don’t get it. So Ron Paul is using hyperbolean language – in what alternate universe would that be an unusual thing?

Seriously – you want hyperbole – how ’bout looking at the Dims on this FCC crap.

I mean – so Paul called the commission “unconstitutional” and … it actually is constitutional. So what? You agree with him over the fact that the committee is utterly stupid.

So where’s the point?

HondaV65 on August 4, 2011 at 1:18 PM

it’s not just constitutional, it’s utterly routine

So is bankruptcy

faraway on August 4, 2011 at 1:18 PM

The debt ceiling hike won’t even cover QE3. We need a new debt hike fight soon apparently.

U.S. eats up most of debt limit in one day
$239 billion spike uses up 60% of funding OK’d on Tuesday

U.S. debt shot up $239 billion on Tuesday — the largest one-day bump in history — as the government flexed the new borrowing room it earned in this week’s debt-limit increase deal.

The debt subject to the statutory limit shot way past the old cap of $14.294 trillion to hit $14.532 trillion on Tuesday, according to the latest the Treasury Department figures, which are released on the next business day.

That increase puts the government already remarkably close to the new debt limit of $14.694, which means one day’s new borrowing ate up 60 percent of the $400 billion in space Congress granted the president this week.

Spathi on August 4, 2011 at 1:27 PM

I mean – so Paul called the commission “unconstitutional” and … it actually is constitutional. So what? You agree with him over the fact that the committee is utterly stupid.

So where’s the point?

HondaV65 on August 4, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Something tells me the point is that the Ames poll is in 9 days, and somebody wants some talking points in his back pocket… just in case.

JohnGalt23 on August 4, 2011 at 1:28 PM

The point I’m not clear on is the no amendments. Are all other committees barred from amendments? I recall that with the Senate Committees with the Health Care, there were quite a few amendments and voted on. Some failed and some passed.

Is this new? That I would think is the part that would be Unconstitutional.

May Ed can clear this up.

bluefox on August 4, 2011 at 1:32 PM

JohnGalt23 on August 4, 2011 at 1:28 PM

It’s more the fact that a bunch of people (especially Republicans) seem to believe this nonsense. It keeps popping up in my e-mail. This is almost exactly identical to the BRAC process, and is nothing unusual.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Well, Ed, it certainly appears that at least one man with a little judicial experience disagrees with your asseertion of “nonsense on stilits”.

JohnGalt23 on August 4, 2011 at 1:33 PM

“Judicial experience” has got nothing to do with the legislature. They make their own rules, as I pretty clearly explained, and they can create rules that limit or forbid amendments on certain bills. What do you think the Rules Committees do in each chamber?

By the way, filibusters are ALREADY barred on budget bills in the Senate by existing rules, so Napolitano’s judicial experience is not exactly impressive here. Also, there isn’t a single mention of filibusters in the Constitution, which again is hardly shining glory on J-Nap’s analysis. Filibusters are provided by rule, not the Constitution, and the Senate could eliminate them at any time.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Ed, let’s just call it the Politburo, and be done with the whole silly thing.

juanito on August 4, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Ed is correct. The Constitution allows both Houses to set their own rules. Debate is not a Constitutional requirement. Both Houses could simply adopt a rule that says “no bill shall be debated”, and off they go.

BobMbx on August 4, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Super Committee
Super Congress
Super Delegates

Knucklehead on August 4, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Super Disaster

derft on August 4, 2011 at 1:45 PM

It’s more the fact that a bunch of people (especially Republicans) seem to believe this nonsense. It keeps popping up in my e-mail. This is almost exactly identical to the BRAC process, and is nothing unusual.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 1:33 PM

So… what? Because people want to have a debate on the constitutionality of what is admittedly something unusual and frankly just a bit disturbing… especially in a time when Constitutional considerations are given short shrift… are these people to be ridiculed?

Certainly great weight should be given to the authority of Congress to make its own rules. But certainly the authority of individual Congressmen to make arguments, have debate, and offer amendments, if for no other reason than to the benefit of their constituents, should also be given serious weight.

BRAC was not unusual. Neither is Social Security, but for years it was an article of faith among the party and the movement that it was unconstitutional. And frankly, I still believe that, and will continue to argue it. And if the best argument you have is that “it’s not unusual”, you’re not going to talk me away from that position.

JohnGalt23 on August 4, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Constitutionally, Congress can set its own rules — both chambers do so at the beginning of every session — and so this also is not just constitutional, but again utterly routine.

That’s the problem.

Bro with the Sick Flow on August 4, 2011 at 1:49 PM

Ah, so the Super Congress is really just a committee.

Nothing they do is binding.

So…

What exactly did we ‘win’ from this?

fossten on August 4, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Thanks for responding to this issue. Are you saying that the House & Senate can make any rule they want, even if it violates the Constitution they took an oath to uphold?

I’m trying to clarify what takes priority here. The Rules or the Constitution.

bluefox on August 4, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Herr Doktor:

Super Idiot.

catmman on August 4, 2011 at 1:53 PM

The Rules or the Constitution.

bluefox on August 4, 2011 at 1:53 PM

As Ed said, the filibuster isn’t mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, but has been used regularly by Congress. So the filibuster isn’t Constitutional?

It s a procedural rule.

catmman on August 4, 2011 at 1:56 PM

I never considered this unconstitutional just a waste of time and money.

Cindy Munford on August 4, 2011 at 1:56 PM

And here come the smears. After Ames they’re going to be out in full force.

I guess someone’s mad that Pawlenty is utterly tanking while a certain congressmen has been right on pretty much every economic prediction in the last five years and is the soon to be frontrunner.

Bro with the Sick Flow on August 4, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Are you saying that the House & Senate can make any rule they want, even if it violates the Constitution they took an oath to uphold?

bluefox on August 4, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Yeah, that’s what Ed is saying.

*facepalm*

catmman on August 4, 2011 at 1:57 PM

How a man can serve in Congress for more than a dozen terms and suddenly believe that committees offend the Constitution is beyond imagination.

Plenty of what goes on in Washington is unconstitutional, and what a survey of idiots think is thoroughly irrelevant.

If a committee voted to let the UN decide our tax code, would that be constitutional, or do the punts end with the committee?

Buddahpundit on August 4, 2011 at 1:59 PM

If memory serves the last such ‘bi-partisan committee’ got us DHS.

The one before that got us the DNI.

Lets just say that I am less than impressed with the capability of finding ‘solutions’ by such bodies.

ajacksonian on August 4, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Are you saying that the House & Senate can make any rule they want, even if it violates the Constitution they took an oath to uphold?

bluefox on August 4, 2011 at 1:53 PM

No. I’m saying that Congress can set its own rules within the limits of the Constitution, and that none of this violates the Constitution. And I’ve explained that all quite clearly. If you think this violates the Constitution, please be sure to list the citations from the Constitution that requires filibusters be honored and amendments be allowed on bills.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Ah, so the Super Congress is really just a committee.

Nothing they do is binding.

Not unless the full Congress votes to pass their bill … just like with any other committee, ad hoc or standing.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 2:03 PM

If a committee voted to let the UN decide our tax code, would that be constitutional, or do the punts end with the committee?

Buddahpundit on August 4, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Apparently not until the point where Ron Paul says its unconstitutional. Then I suspect some would go to great lengths to defend the constituionality of such a monstrosity.

JohnGalt23 on August 4, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Lets just say that I am less than impressed with the capability of finding ‘solutions’ by such bodies.

ajacksonian on August 4, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Same here. I’m not arguing that it’s the smart approach (in fact, I specifically mention that it’s not), but it’s hardly unusual and certainly not unconstitutional for Congress to form a committee or to pass a rule for consideration of a bill.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Apparently not until the point where Ron Paul says its unconstitutional. Then I suspect some would go to great lengths to defend the constituionality of such a monstrosity.

JohnGalt23 on August 4, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Have you gotten a reply back from Napolitano as to where the Constitutional guarantees of filibusters on budget bills and the right to amend all bills on the floor can be found?

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Ed,

Your argument is basically Congress can make a rule and that rule is by default constitutional. So could congress make a rule that instead of requiring a 2/3 override of a veto, it only needs 50% to override? No. Because that would be going against what the constitution says.

I don’t know enough of the specifics of what the super committee can or can;t do. But your argument that just because congress can make its own rules is in and of itself validation of the constitutionality of the super committee is plain wrong.

angryed on August 4, 2011 at 2:10 PM

The platypus is a hamster designed by a supercongress.

Akzed on August 4, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Your argument is basically Congress can make a rule and that rule is by default constitutional. So could congress make a rule that instead of requiring a 2/3 override of a veto, it only needs 50% to override? No. Because that would be going against what the constitution says.

That’s a complete straw man. I said that Congress can set rules for debate and amendments on bills, and that they can form committees on ad hoc or standing bases to work within the jurisdiction the Constitution gives them. Congress’ jurisdiction includes the budget, quite clearly, and all they did was set the rules for consideration of the eventual product of the committee. That doesn’t give the committee the right to ban guns or free speech, for instance.

There is nothing in this structure that violates any part of the Constitution. And so far, all of those who have argued here that it somehow does have yet to cite a single word of the Constitution as evidence.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Have you gotten a reply back from Napolitano as to where the Constitutional guarantees of filibusters on budget bills and the right to amend all bills on the floor can be found?

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Still waiting, but the Judge is a busy man, what with considering constitutional questions on a regular basis. I can’t expect him to heed my beck and call… at least not without paying him his usual retainer.

That being said, are there any limits upon which the Congress sets its own rules, besides black letter law in the Constitution? The example was given above: Is it constitutional for Congress to constitute a committee entirely of UN representatives to decide tax policy in the US? Nothing I read in the Constitution would prohibit it. But certainly it substantially effects the authority of indicidual Congressmen to represent their constitutents.

Napolitano is raising the question of what happens when Congress makes rules that substantially affect how well Members can do their job. And if they have that authority (which they certainly do), is that authority unlimited. And if not, where are those limits?

JohnGalt23 on August 4, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Same here. I’m not arguing that it’s the smart approach (in fact, I specifically mention that it’s not), but it’s hardly unusual and certainly not unconstitutional for Congress to form a committee or to pass a rule for consideration of a bill.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 2:04 PM

The constitutionality can be argued… the effects of going around the sitting committees is horrific. Instead of putting a joint committee together of ALL the members of the sitting committees we get political apparatchiks.

The grandstanding and political chest-thumping of the 9/11 Commission got us the ‘pressure’ to make a DHS. If you were inside the INTEL Community you saw this as yet another bureaucracy for ticket-punchers and did nothing to address the functional problems within the IC. In other words the committee constructed an apparatus that was more costly, concentrated more power, formed its own political fiefdom and made the entire thing less, not more, functional. The history of these things is awful and I’m not expecting this one to make things better but to construct a more costly solution that is less effective and doesn’t address the problem. Luckily its an election year coming up and they all want to finish their work of making things worse just before it so they can all point fingers at each other for creating this mess. The mess will go on because of this.

ajacksonian on August 4, 2011 at 2:20 PM

There is nothing in this structure that violates any part of the Constitution. And so far, all of those who have argued here that it somehow does have yet to cite a single word of the Constitution as evidence.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Fair enough. Here’s one for you…

Artlicle I, Sec 2:

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers

The whole House going to get to vote on the Members of that Committee, are they?

JohnGalt23 on August 4, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Thanks. I just wanted to be clear that the Constitution overruled the rules the Congress makes.

bluefox on August 4, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Ed -

I am not sure if I can find the clip but I am pretty sure that I heard CNN say that if the committee came to a agreement (meaning a majority opinion) on certain budget issues within the time period allotted their agreement becomes binding.
That is what terrified my about the members McConnell would be appointing to the panel.
Are you sure that their decision is not binding? CNN and FOX have made it sounds as though it was.

therambler on August 4, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Actually, Ron Paul had a much more powerful point:

The “Debt Cap Deal” converted a “2/3 to pass a tax hike” environment into a “2/3 to STOP a tax hike” environment. This is because of the restrictions on the vote taken after the committee reports, and the default situation if the committee fails to report.

So, while I am not a reliable Ron Paul supporter, I do think in this case his words have been hijacked and twisted, and his main point buried. Reading his entire speech, you cannot believe that the only thing Ron Paul objected to was the formation of a committee.

So, Ed, in this case I call “hatchet job and challenge you to produce a more balanced article on what Ron Paul actually said!!!

landlines on August 4, 2011 at 2:36 PM

catmman on August 4, 2011 at 1:57 PM

No, Ed is not saying the Rules take priority over the Constitution. See his response @2:02PM

I just wanted to clear that up, since it can be confusing. (at least to me:-)

bluefox on August 4, 2011 at 2:39 PM

landlines on August 4, 2011 at 2:36 PM

First off, there is no “default tax hike” in the agreement. There are default cuts of $1.5 trillion. The expiration of the Bush tax rates at the end of 2012 is a separate issue from the default trigger in this agreement.

Next, just because Paul may have had a point about the cuts doesn’t mean he’s off the hook for this paranoid and ignorant “Super Congress” nonsense. His words are perfectly clear on that point.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 2:41 PM

That is what terrified my about the members McConnell would be appointing to the panel.
Are you sure that their decision is not binding? CNN and FOX have made it sounds as though it was.

therambler on August 4, 2011 at 2:34 PM

No, it’s not. The full Congress has to approve their proposal for it to become law, just like any other bill. That’s why they set restrictive rules for debate and ruled amendments out of order, so they could get a clean vote in each chamber on identical bills.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 2:42 PM

The Paulbots think their leader can do no wrong.

meci on August 4, 2011 at 2:47 PM

First, I’d point out that filibusters can’t be used on budget bills anyway, which is why the “reconciliation” strategy on ObamaCare worked. That’s only the first problem with Napolitano’s statement. The Constitution does not provide the Senate with a filibuster; it is mentioned nowhere in the document.

Yes, but the Senate, under its own rules, has provided itself the filibuster. And I’m quite sure the Senate has standing rules on how to change its rules. Did the Senate (and House) follow their own rules on changing the rules. Was there a meeting of the Rules committees in each body to debate and change these rules? Or did the Speaker and Majority Leader just think it up and do it?

If the latter, there is certainly more than a whiff of unconstitutionality here.

JohnGalt23 on August 4, 2011 at 2:57 PM

Andrew Napolitano was a Superior Court judge in New Jersey. That hardly makes him an authority on federal constitutional law, no matter how many times he has been on Fox News.

For all of Ron Paul’s thumping on the Constitution, there are times when I wonder whether he’s read it all, or whether he has been bloviating on his personal opinions so long that he thinks they must be enshrined in the Constitution.

The fact is that Ed understands the rule-making authority of the houses of Congress, authority granted under the Constitution (that would be Article I, Section 5, “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings”) better than either of them seem to.

Ed, all I can say is that you must have the patience of Job. Dealing with Paulnuts is a hard job, but you do it, and do it well.

Athanasius on August 4, 2011 at 2:59 PM

more nonsense from Judge Napolitano, who should know better

I’m sorry, Ed, but I beg to differ. Napolitano is a clown and an embarrassment to libertarian thought. He’s a know-nothing who plays a populist on TV and calls himself a libertarian. Liberty is insulted.

Jaibones on August 4, 2011 at 2:59 PM

JohnGalt: Why don’t you try reading the bill before arguing nonsense? The provisions that you and Paul are so concerned about are in the bill that passed both houses that you can find here. Read Title IV, Section 401, then see if you can argue Paul’s case with a straight face.

Athanasius on August 4, 2011 at 3:03 PM

…none of which violates the Constitution or the standing rules of either chamber of Commerce.

I’d really prefer it if the Chamber of Commerce were writing these laws.

forest on August 4, 2011 at 3:09 PM

The Paulbots think their leader can do no wrong.

meci on August 4, 2011 at 2:47 PM

And the liberal Republicans think Ron Paul is wrong on everything.

Bro with the Sick Flow on August 4, 2011 at 3:09 PM

There is nothing in this structure that violates any part of the Constitution. And so far, all of those who have argued here that it somehow does have yet to cite a single word of the Constitution as evidence.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 2:16 PM

That’s because there’s nothing in the Constitution that deals with the internal rules or rule-making procedures of each chamber, except for the veto and constitutional amendment procedures, as you clearly pointed out. During the Constitutional Convention, there were a number of proposals to constitutionally mandate rules and procedures in each house, but Madison and most of the other delegates rejected them.

TXUS on August 4, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Actually, the Constitution explicitly gives the houses the right to make their own rules. See Article I, Section 5.

Athanasius on August 4, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Athanasius on August 4, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Hey, put that broad brush away. I’m a Hobbit, LOL

bluefox on August 4, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Hey, put that broad brush away. I’m a Hobbit, LOL

I will. I certainly wouldn’t want to step on any Hobbit toes. :-)

Athanasius on August 4, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Why don’t you try reading the bill before arguing nonsense? The provisions that you and Paul are so concerned about are in the bill that passed both houses that you can find here. Read Title IV, Section 401, then see if you can argue Paul’s case with a straight face.

Athanasius on August 4, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Nothing I read in that bill gives the House the authority to vote on the Membership of that committee. The whole House usually votes on the membership of their committees. But not this time.

My question is: Is that a violation of that authority of the House to vote on membership of its officers?

JohnGalt23 on August 4, 2011 at 3:20 PM

JohnGalt23 on August 4, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Good question. But I think Ed said the House & Senate agreed to this super committee that McConnell is the author of. I’ll re-read the thread to be sure.

Since McConnell came up with this, there is a reason and most likely isn’t good in my opinion. I don’t see any good reason for it. Unless it’s another pass the buck:-)

bluefox on August 4, 2011 at 3:25 PM

The House voted for the entire bill, including Title IV, Section 401 (b)(4), which specifically delegates the authority for selecting the members to the Speaker and the House Minority Leader (as well as the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders). That’s all that’s necessary–the House delegates authority to its officers on a regular basis, and in this case it is not just a House rule, but a piece of legislation.

Athanasius on August 4, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Athanasius on August 4, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Thanks:-) There is a lot I agree with Ron Paul about, but some things I can’t agree on.

I was born a Hobbit, LOL

bluefox on August 4, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Update: More Constitutional nonsense from Napolitano

I had to click to see if it was Janet or Andrew.

zmdavid on August 4, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Napolitano is an idiot. What kind of judge was he, a town judge?

I hate the practice of referring to people by the title of offices they once held. He is not a judge and therefore should not be referred to as “judge”. Just like a former congressman shouldn’t be referred to as “congressman”. The only title that I would give a pass on this to is President.

By referring to someone by a title they once held, we are implying that they have been granted nobility or something. Like they were knighted and we have to call them “sir” so and so.

Enough. NJ Superior court judge for 8 years is hardly evidence of anything. I have known plenty of judges at that level who were complete and utter morons. Let’s not give this guy so much credence.

Monkeytoe on August 4, 2011 at 3:56 PM

That’s all that’s necessary–the House delegates authority to its officers on a regular basis, and in this case it is not just a House rule, but a piece of legislation.

Athanasius on August 4, 2011 at 3:26 PM

I’m curious… is it your contention that the House could vote on a set of Rules that delegated all authority to choose Membership on various Committees to the Speaker, without any further votes from the House as a whole?

JohnGalt23 on August 4, 2011 at 3:58 PM

DJIA dropped 512 points – Happy Birthday, Mr. President

katablog.com on August 4, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Ed, how about the debt ceiling section of the bill? It seems to say that the debt ceiling will be raised unless Congress passes a joint resolution of disapproval saying that it doesn’t. How does this square with the Constitutional requirement that revenue bills must originate in the House?

GalosGann on August 4, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Ron Paul is an idiot.

therightwinger on August 4, 2011 at 5:00 PM

There is nothing in this structure that violates any part of the Constitution. And so far, all of those who have argued here that it somehow does have yet to cite a single word of the Constitution as evidence.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 2:16 PM

You don’t have to explicitly go counter to the words of the Constitution to totally destroy the spirit of the Constitution. We can make a game of it, let’s think of ways to subvert the Constitution without going directly counter to any explicit instruction in the Constitution. I’m sure we could come up with enough ideas to destroy the US in a hurry.
The most powerful people in America play that game as a profession.

If your committee punts it to a “blue ribbon” commission of their favorite economic professors, would it still be Constitutional?

Buddahpundit on August 4, 2011 at 5:28 PM

I’m curious… is it your contention that the House could vote on a set of Rules that delegated all authority to choose Membership on various Committees to the Speaker, without any further votes from the House as a whole?

Of course. There is nothing in the Constitution that specifies how committee assignments are to be doled out, or even that there have to be congressional committees. If the House wanted to delegate that authority to the Speaker, it certainly could (though it wouldn’t, except on special, specific occasions).

Athanasius on August 4, 2011 at 5:33 PM

This entire subject has been twisted around by the political forces that do not want to admit what they voted for.

The truth is, they just implemented a law that cuts from projected spending in both the military and other descretionary programs.

They also voted for a joint commission to look for alternatives BEFORE those cuts are implemented.

NEITHER side wants to admit that they voted for those cuts, so they all are lining up some commission to blame.

Not a constitutional issue, just a bunch of SLEEZY politicians!

Freddy on August 4, 2011 at 6:52 PM

First off, there is no “default tax hike” in the agreement. There are default cuts of $1.5 trillion. The expiration of the Bush tax rates at the end of 2012 is a separate issue from the default trigger in this agreement.

Next, just because Paul may have had a point about the cuts doesn’t mean he’s off the hook for this paranoid and ignorant “Super Congress” nonsense. His words are perfectly clear on that point.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Ed: All the Democrats need to do is drag their feet…keep the Committee paralyzed and unable to produce a report, and/or tie up the vote and/or vote everything down in the Senate…and Obama gets to allocate all the money he wants! He can call tax hikes “cuts” (like Democrats have been doing for decades), and make similar cynical and dysfunctional spending decisions….and Obama cannot effectively be challenged without 60 votes in the Senate to do so. Under these circumstances, there is no effective enforcement of any “cuts”. This is a complete reversal from the situation which existed before this stupid “deal” was agreed to.

THIS is the major strategic error RINOS made when they agreed to this deal.

landlines on August 4, 2011 at 7:58 PM

The expiration of the Bush tax rates at the end of 2012 is a separate issue from the default trigger in this agreement.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 2:41 PM

PS to Ed: I forgot to deal with the “Bush tax cuts”.

The CBO (at the behest of Reid et al) scored the baseline as though the “Bush tax cuts” WOULD HAPPEN. This is, effectively, a $5 Trillion tax increase incorporated in the baseline. So these are NOT “seperate issues”: The incorporation of the expiration of the “Bush tax cuts” in the baseline effectively neuters ANY AND ALL REAL TAX CUTS which total less than $5 Trillion!!!

The “deal” GUARANTEES tax increases….sneakily, but effectively…by establishing a grossly inflated false “baseline” for spending which is actually (including everything) about $9 Trillion MORE THAN CURRENT SPENDING LEVELS!!!

Only in Washington could this be called a “Tax Cut Deal,” and only on the other side of the looking glass could this be considered a “win” for Conservatives, Tea Party, the Dollar, or America.

landlines on August 4, 2011 at 8:06 PM

The expiration of the Bush tax rates at the end of 2012 is a separate issue from the default trigger in this agreement.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2011 at 2:41 PM

PS to Ed: I forgot to deal with the “Bush tax cuts”.

The CBO (at the behest of Reid et al) scored the baseline as though the “Bush tax cuts” WOULD HAPPEN. This is, effectively, a $5 Trillion tax increase incorporated in the baseline. So these are NOT “seperate issues”: The incorporation of the expiration of the “Bush tax cuts” in the baseline effectively neuters ANY AND ALL REAL TAX CUTS which total less than $5 Trillion!!!

The Bush tax cuts expire on December 31st 2012..and that means another vote on the issue.

As for the whole baseline stuff…please all of this is just conjecture anyway. All of it…no one can know for sure one way or the other what the baseline will be..it depends on the economy, on all sorts of things.

I don’t think they cut enough in the deal, but I do think they made cuts. And what cuts they did make were only accomplished because of the pressure brought to bear in the House by conservative Republicans. If it had been left up to the Democrats there would not have been any cuts, just more increases in spending tax hikes too.

I know people want more, I want more..but people have to realize that when the Democrats control most of the government it is a victory just to hold the line..and they did accomplish more than that.

Terrye on August 4, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Ron Paul should have stuck to delivering babies. At least that is a productive way to make a living.

Terrye on August 4, 2011 at 8:25 PM

harry reid took credit for this stupid idea. Actually, it’s not stupid at all. What is stupid is that the demofascists will push it for other areas, the idiot republicans will fall for it because they think it makes them look reasonable, and it won’t matter who controls the house and senate in 2012. The democrats will push the woosy republicans around in these committees and have their way.

peacenprosperity on August 4, 2011 at 8:50 PM

this paranoid and ignorant “Super Congress” nonsense.

rinos like committees.

People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.
Thomas Sowell

peacenprosperity on August 4, 2011 at 8:55 PM

As for the whole baseline stuff…please all of this is just conjecture anyway. All of it…no one can know for sure one way or the other what the baseline will be..it depends on the economy, on all sorts of things.

Terrye on August 4, 2011 at 8:24 PM

NO, the baseline is PART OF THE LAW, and CBO has already scored it. That means that automatic increases have already been built into EVERY budget item…including “Porkulus,” and including the “savings” (aka new taxes) resulting from expiration of the Bush tax cuts. These automatic increases and new taxes amount to about $9 Trillion over 10 years.

So any of you who still think that there are ANY cuts: mandated, default, or otherwise, have to admit that you’ve been snookered by Harry Reid & Company…unless you can show where there are over $9 Trillion of REAL CUTS hiding somewhere in this “deal.”

The Democrat’s “crocodile tears” about “draconian cuts” and “Wins by the Evil Tea Party” the last few weeks were a “Red Herring” diversionary tactic designed to keep everyone from noticing their $9 Trillion scam.

landlines on August 4, 2011 at 10:08 PM

You agree with him over the fact that the committee is utterly stupid.

So where’s the point?

HondaV65 on August 4, 2011 at 1:18 PM

The point is someone got their marching orders to up the Paul bashing ahead of the straw poll. Nothing new here. Sending in another $50 to the RP campaign.

Firefly_76 on August 4, 2011 at 10:21 PM

Consensus: Obama America got outplayed.

Cylor on August 5, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Consensus: Obama America got outplayed.

Cylor on August 5, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Exactly!!! The Conservatives in Congress need to get someone like Trump (or an equally skilled negotiator) to consult with them to assure that (1) they are playing a winnable game, and (2) that they are looking 10 moves ahead like their opponents are.

As it is, I question our sides’ ability to read and understand the implications and consequences of the bills they are voting on.

landlines on August 5, 2011 at 12:07 PM