Rep. Steven King: Slaughter Rule ‘Shenanigan’ to Pass Health Care Could Face ‘Constitutional Challenge’

By Nicholas Ballasy | March 18, 2010 | 6:09 PM EDT

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) (Courtesy of King's Web site)

( -- Representative Steven King (R-Iowa), who was present at a tea party rally on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, told that if the “Slaughter Solution” is used in the House of Representatives to “deem” the Senate health care bill passed, it could be faced with a constitutional challenge.
Rep. King also described the sweeping health care legislation, which would affect one-sixth of the U.S. economy, as the “theft of the liberty of all the American people.”
“That (Slaughter) rule has been used several times in the past on small issues that weren’t of great consequence,” King told on Capitol Hill.  “There is a precedent for small issues of little consequence but this (health care bill) is unprecedented, and I think that it could be faced with a constitutional challenge, although I would want to go back and look at these precedents to see if there is any case law underneath that.”

“The worst thing is it betrays the trust of the American people and it says that Democrats believe they can hide behind, well a maneuver, a shenanigan -- it’s the right time of season to call it a shenanigan -- and that the American people won’t catch up with it,” King told  “To deem a bill passed so they don’t have to vote specifically for a bill is, you know, it’s a duck and cover move, and I think it’s being used as leverage for Nancy Pelosi’s caucus members.”
King continued: “And I think they’re telling them, you know, we can do the Slaughter Rule, but there’s going to be more uproar across America if we do that. You might as well vote for the Senate version of the bill. I think that’s the argument. I think they are using it as leverage inside their own caucus and I don’t know whether they’ll use it or not.”
The Slaughter Solution -- named for House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) who proposed it -- would allow the 2,074-page Senate health care bill to be incorporated into the Rule for the reconciliation bill coming out of the Senate. If House members vote to pass the Rule for reconciliation they, in effect, pass the Senate health care bill without actually voting on the bill  -- they would instead vote on the reconciliation package.
Rep. King explained to what he thinks is the Constitutional argument against using the “Slaughter Solution.”
“Before any bill can be passed into law, it gets a recorded vote,” said King. “Then the argument would be that this is a diversion. It isn’t really a vote on the Senate version of the bill. So, I have to look at the constitutionality more closely before I want to be able to tell America what my position is as far as the likelihood of being able to succeed. But I know there’s precedent to doing this but it’s been on small bills of far less consequence than taking over one-sixth of our economy.”
“This is the theft of the liberty of all the American people,” said King. “To take away our ability and our choice to decide what health insurance policies we want, and take away our ability to manage our own health care. We can only do it within the guidelines that would be approved by people to be appointed later for departments, some of which would be created by the bill.”