Saturday, December 26, 2009

Internet Rumor: DeMint Objection Will Stop ObamaCare

Popular Conservative Blogs Don’t Understand Senate Rules, Republican Party Cannot Stop ObamaCare By Itself

Democrat Implosion Only Way To Stop It Now

Much is being written on a number of popular Conservative blogs and online discussion boards about a procedural move in the Senate executed by Senator Jim DeMint right before Congress went on its Christmas break.

The procedure DeMint invoked was to object to the appointment of conferees, or members of the House and Senate that would be responsible to reconcile the House and Senate versions of “ObamaCare” to produce the final bill that the House and Senate would ultimately have to re-vote on and approve before being sent to Obama’s desk for signature into law.

The claim is that by objecting to the appointment of conferees, the House of Representatives would be forced to vote on the Senate bill produced by Harry Reid without modification or amendments.  This would make the Senate bill dead on arrival in the House of Representatives because the Senate Bill does not contain a ‘public option’ among other things which the far left and unions demanded that the House bill contained.

If we were to stop here, the above would be factually correct and we may take some comfort in watching the fight between the House & Senate ensue as ObamaCare went down in flames.

But the fact of the matter is the House or Senate can at any time, suspend its own rules or vote to modify them to pass any piece of legislation they wish with a simple majority vote. 

Senate Rule 22 – Suspension of the Rules states:

The motion to suspend the rules may be made at any time when no question is pending; or while a question is pending, provided it is for a purpose connected with that question. It yields to all the privileged motions (except a call for the orders of the day), to the motion to lay on the table, and to incidental motions arising out of itself. It is undebatable and cannot be amended or have any other subsidiary motion applied to it, nor can a vote on it be reconsidered, nor can a motion to suspend the rules for the same purpose be renewed at the same meeting except by unanimous consent, though it may be renewed after an adjournment, even if the next meeting is held the same day.

The U.S. Senate may when it wishes to do something that cannot be done without violating its own rules, and yet is not in conflict with the Constitution, suspend the rules that interfere with the proposed action. The object of the suspension must be specified, and nothing else (no other Senate business) can be done under the suspension.

The Form of the motion is made “to suspend the rules and take up for consideration, the resolution ……”  where the resolution is to suspend the rules to pass a particular piece of legislation.

When a motion to suspend the rules has been seconded, it shall be in order, before the final vote is taken to debate the proposed suspension of the rules for one-half the time normally given to debate, or forty-five minutes.

In both the House and Senate, the practice is to “suspend the rules and pass” a resolution, whatever that resolution may be.

Much as I hate to be the one that breaks the bubbles of my Conservative friends, the fact is as I’ve demonstrated Congress (both the House and Senate) may suspend the rules of their respective chambers  to pass whatever they want – so long as it is not in direct violation of the Constitution of the United States of America.

As the Democrats have sufficient majorities in both the House and Senate and can suspend the rules at will, there is literally nothing that can be done to force the House of Representatives to vote on the Senate’s version of “ObamaCare” thus forcing the legislation to fail.  All the Democrats need to do is suspend the rules – for which they have enough votes to do so – and convene the conference required to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the legislation.

This of course does not mean that the two versions can or cannot be reconciled and brought to vote, it simply means that the Republican Party is relegated to the sidelines to watch the entire effort.  It will take an implosion of the Democrats to stop ObamaCare.

Sorry to burst your bubbles, Red State and Free Republic.

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