(CNSNews.com) – Landmark Legal Foundation President Mark Levin, who served as chief of staff in the Reagan Justice Department, said he plans to file an immediate lawsuit if House Democratic leaders try to use an unconstitutional manuever to pass the Senate health care bill without actually having to vote on it.
“I cannot predict if we would win or lose--this is not as simple as some would have you believe--but I want to put the marker down right now and make it clear to members of the House of Representatives who think the quickest way to pass this is to adopt a rule that assumes that they voted on an underlying bill when they didn’t--that is going to be challenged if they do it,” Levin said on his nationally syndicated radio show Tuesday evening.
(A draft version of Landmark Legal's likely complaint is available on the organization's Web site.)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated on Monday that she might attempt to use a procedure -- dubbed “deem and pass” – to pass the measure without actually having lawmakers vote on it.
Essentially, instead of House members casting their votes on the Senate version of the health-care bill, the House would vote on a package of “fixes” made to those parts of the Senate bill to which House members object.
Under the House’s “self-executing rule” provision, if the lawmakers pass a rule that says passing the “fixes” is the same as passing the actual bill -- then the House would magically "deem" the health-care bill to be “passed.” The "rule" itself would be sponsored by the chairman of the House Rules Committtee, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.).
Levin, who is also a prominent nationally syndicated talk-radio host in addition to heading the Landmark Legal Foundation, reiterated that “no one can predict the outcome,” and he said he was not going to tip his hand by revealing too much of the legal strategy behind the lawsuit.
“What I’m trying to do, though, is make it very clear to those Democrats who are on the fence, and who think that this somehow is going to protect them, that it won’t because we’re going to expose you,” Levin said.
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.”
House action could come by the end of the week.