Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) pointed out some rather astounding language in the Senate health care bill during floor remarks tonight. First, he noted that there are a number of changes to Senate rules in the bill--and it's supposed to take a 2/3 vote to change the rules. And then he pointed out that the Reid bill declares on page 1020 that the Independent Medicare Advisory Board cannot be repealed by future Congresses:Sen. Jeff Merkley (D - Oregon), the Presiding Officer, offers a weak response in defense of Harry Reid. But of course I'm not an expert in constitutional law, and I'm also a little bit too tired to think this one out right now. You be the judge:Sen. DeMint: There's one provision that I found particularly troubling and it's under section c, titled "limitations on changes to this subsection."
And I quote -- "It shall not be in order in the senate or the house of representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection."
This is not legislation, it's not law. This is a rule change. It's a pretty big deal. We will be passing a new law and at the same time creating a Senate rule that makes it out of order to amend or even repeal the law.
I'm not even sure that it's constitutional, but if it is, it most certainly is a senate rule. I don't see why the majority party wouldn't put this in every bill. If you like your law, you most certainly would want it to have force for future senates...
This goes to the fundamental purpose of Senate rules: to prevent a tyrannical majority from trampling the rights of the minority or of future co-congresses.
DeMint's full remarks in the video below. Feel free to fast forward the video if necessary:
Also see the recent update: Tricky Reid slipped unrepealable provision in bill AFTER it was passed by the Finance Committee