Saturday, April 2, 2011

House Republicans attempt to subvert U.S. Constitution

Almost anyone with a fourth grade education understands how a bill becomes law. Both chambers of Congress -- the House of Representatives and the Senate -- must pass identical bills, which then get sent to the president for his signature (or veto). If both bills passed aren’t the same, a compromise must be made between the House and Senate versions, which can involve serious give-and-take from differing political factions.

With today’s Congress being bitterly divided (the House under Republican control and the Senate led by Democrats), it’s apparent that compromise won’t come easy. Rumors of a possible government shutdown are heard daily, reminiscent of the Clinton-era crisis when a similar situation was forced by another stubborn GOP-controlled Congress.

In the end, the Republicans received the scorn of the American public -- Clinton’s approval rating rose during the crisis, and he went on to an easy re-election campaign against then-Sen. Majority leader Bob Dole.

Apparently not wanting to relive a similar situation, House Republicans found the perfect solution: subvert the Constitution entirely. Passing what they affectionately call a “force of law” bill, the Republicans approved a plan this week to allow only one house of Congress to pass a budget bill if the April 6 budget deadline comes around without compromise. The caveat, of course, is that the house of Congress they say would have the “force of law” in this situation is the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Just in case you’re keeping track at home: when a health care bill that in no way violates the Constitution becomes law, Republicans will scream until they’re blue in the face over fabricated legal concerns; but when it comes to establishing a budget (but only their version of it), the Constitution is just a silly document that’s standing in the way of their priorities, worth ignoring entirely if it benefits their cause. The requirement that both houses of Congress pass similar bills means nothing to Republicans; their thwarting of an explicit piece of the Constitution is entirely justified, in their own minds.

What’s sad is that this isn’t just the idea of one or two fringe Republican members of Congress -- this was two-hundred twenty-one Republican legislators coming together, voting intentionally in favor of destroying our national government’s framework. It annihilates checks and balances, dismantles centuries of our nation’s established design that our founding fathers created in order to prevent a unicameral legislature’s ability to rule without discretion.

We shouldn’t be surprised anymore by anything Republicans do to subvert the rule of law in our country, nor in the state of Wisconsin. Trivial things ranging from open meeting laws to the Constitutional framework of our government don’t matter to them so long as they get their way. It’s a dangerous form of leadership, one that endangers the democratic rights of the American people. It may not be surprising, but it shouldn’t be forgotten, nor forgiven, by citizens who entrust their lives to Republican lawmakers.

No comments:

Post a Comment