The Nacilbupera Guzzle

Whoever examines with attention the history of the dearths and famines … will find, I believe, that a dearth never has arisen from any combination among the inland dealers in corn, nor from any other cause but a real scarcity, occasioned sometimes perhaps, and in some particular places, by the waste of war, but in by far the greatest number of cases by the fault of the seasons; and that a famine has never arisen from any other cause but the violence of government attempting, by improper means, to remedy the inconveniences of a dearth. (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations IV.5.44)

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Sunday Nite Surprise? Congress Violates Constitution, Grows Govt, Debt In "Food Safety" Bill

If you went to bed early last night with visions of sugar plums dancing in your head, you missed the Senate's passing of another Constitutional mess of a bill. The 242-page "Food Safety" act S. 510 was snuck in the Senate last night by Harry Reid through a voice vote--a horrible way for Congress to do its work because no Senator has their vote recorded, and thus accountability becomes encumbered.

The bill appropriates $1.6B (link to Sen Coburn's astute dissection of the bill) granting the FDA expansive new powers to regulate food and farming activities 90% of which is unfunded debt spending. (So, what happened anyways to the Democrat-touted PAYGO this Democratic Congress passed and Obama signed earlier this year?)

It becomes a "Constitutional mess" because the Senate goofed on their normal get-around-the-Constitution ways. Alexander Bolton of had a revealing article (if you read between the lines) entitled In Sunday-evening surprise, Senate passes food-safety legislation (emphasis & hyperlink mine below):

The Senate passed the Food Safety and Modernization Act on Nov. 30 by a vote of
. But the bill was later invalidated by a technical objection because it was a revenue-raising measure that did not originate in the House — Senate staff had failed to substitute the food-safety language into a House-originated bill.

The term "technical objection" was Bolton's euphemism for saying that the bill was offered and subsequently passed in direct violation to specific, easy-to-understand US Constitutional language explaining that the bill was supposed to originate in the House, not the Senate (Article 1 Section 7 Clause 1):

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills

Bolton's final phrase about the failure of Senate staff masked a weak attempt in hiding accountability. You see, it is sadly customary now that when the Senate wants to originate an appropriations bill, they simply completely gut a House bill already passed; for example, Obamacare was passed in this manner. By blaming "Senate staff" rather than the bill's Sponsor--none other than Democrat Dick Durbin (IL)--Bolton attempted to diffuse the blame to the unnamed staff perpetrators.

In theory, it should be an easy act to declare this bill unconstitutional because it so plainly violates the First Article of the Constitution and could warrant blue-slipping by the House (h/t Whether anyone will rise to do so whether in the House--or if signed into law by the POTUS, by the SCOTUS--remains to be seen.

1 comment:

tha malcontent said...

"If you went to bed early last night with visions of sugar plums dancing in your head"

Is that what was dancing around in my head? And all this time I thought I drank too much... LOL