GOP Rep. Bachmann: Dem Maneuver on Health Care ‘Patently Unconstitutional’

By Matt Loffman

Mar 16, 2010 2:47pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: With House Democrats mulling a procedural maneuver on health care that would avoid a direct vote on the Senate bill, Republicans are crying foul — and are promising legal challenges that would seek to nullify House action. On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said the strategy that would “deem” the Senate bill to have been passed as part of a package of fixes through the budget process would violate the Constitution. “The Constitution matters,” Bachmann said. “What the Constitution says is you must actually vote on the bill — you can’t vote on a rule. And what the Democrats are stepping into in this constitutional problem is the fact that Americans will have standing — standing to sue. You’ll see scores of lawsuits, and the American people will prevail, and this will be struck down as clearly unconstitutional. This isn’t even a close one — that’s why it’s really a foolish move by the Democrats, because they can’t win legally in court if they take this route.” Bachmann cited Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution, which states that for a bill to become law, it “shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate.” Bachmann said she agrees with legal scholars who argue that the strategy now being considered would violate that clause. “There will be any number of groups taking this up because this won’t stand. It’s so blatant on its face unconstitutional — it doesn’t have a chance for standing,” she added. “It’s the ‘Slaughter of the House’ rule that I’m referring to — this will not be upheld in a court because it’s patently unconstitutional. The strategy — named by Republicans after its primary author, House Rules Committee Chairman Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y. — is preferred by many Democrats in the House who don’t want to be seen as supportive of the special deals contained in the Senate-passed version of the health care bill. Bachmann called it a “procedure that’s never been used before.” But Republican and Democratic leaders used similar “self-executing” rules with some regularity when they were in charge of Congress — though not, Republicans argue, for legislation of such sweeping significance as health care reform. Bachmann said she’s not convinced that health care reform will pass Congress, despite the president’s lobbying push: “It’s a flip of the coin, I think. No one knows which way it’s going to go. Clearly, they don’t have the votes today. The American people have won at every step of this process, and the polling data tells us three out of four Americans don’t want this bill. And so now is the time when the Blue Dog Democrats can stand up and be heroes in the process and say no to this very bad bill, and be heroes at the end of the day.” Watch the full segment with Rep. Michele Bachmann HERE. We also checked in with GOP strategist Alex Conant on the health care push and the 2010 landscape. Watch that portion of “Top Line” HERE.

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