House Republican Leadership Chairman: Democrats Are Engaging in 'Slaughtering of Democracy'
March 17, 2010 - 7:57 PMRep. Greg Walden (R.-Ore.), the House Republican Leadership Chairman, said Democrats are engaging the 'slaughtering of democracy' if they use a 'rule' devised by House Rules Chairman Louise Slaughter (D.-N.Y.) to approve the Senate health care bill without subjecting it to a recorded aye-and-nay vote.
When CNSNews.com asked Walden if he thought the Slaughter Rule was constitutional, he said: “I don’t think it is. That will be up to the courts to decide. Long and short of it is, it’s a slaughtering of democracy. Shouldn’t, when you’re doing one-sixth of the economy an everybody’s health care, at least offer the House an opportunity to debate this bill before it goes to the president? We won’t technically have that ability because it would have been passed when you pass the rule. So all you’re debating is the rule.”
“So it’s just, it’s a horrible, horrible precedent to set, and to continue, if it’s been done before, but I don’t think it’s ever been done before of this magnitude, of this kind of legislation," said Walden. "And it’s just, it’s just, it’s the wrong way to operate."
"So, now they’re doing this sleight of hand shenanigans and, and denying the House the constitutional authority we should have to have an up or down vote,” said Walden.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.) told CNSNews.com on Tuesday: “We’re going to vote on a bill--on a rule--which would provide for the result that, if a majority are for it, that will adopt a bill, the Senate [health care] bill, which has had extensive debate, extensive exposure.”
Under the Slaughter plan, the House would pass a special rule governing debate on a budget reconciliation bill being crafted to make "fixes" in the Senate health care bill desired by House Democrats. With this rule, the Senate health care bill itself would be "deemed" to have passed the House if the full House of Representatives subsequently passes the budget reconciliation bill. In the process, there would be no direct, recorded aye-or-nay vote on the Senate health care bill in the House before it was sent to the president to be signed into law.
Article I, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution states:
"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, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But 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.”