TeeJaw Blog

Republicans Did It Too? — Au Contraire

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 4: 25 PM

Andy McCarthy makes a convincing case that when the Republican-controlled Congress used a “self-executing” rule to raise the debt ceiling in 2005, the facts were so different it is not comparable to the Slaughter House Rule. It is true that it was a “self-executing” procedural rule that raised the debt ceiling without a vote, but raising the debt ceiling was at that time an uncontroversial, routing practice (unfortunately) as to be almost ministerial. The Republicans have never done anything similar to what the Democrats are trying to do. Trying to ram through a highly unpopular bill to take over one-sixth of the U.S. Economy that, according to the New England Journal of Medicine may result in almost one-third of doctors leaving medicine, is simply not comparable.

McCarthy compares the Republicans used of a self-executing rule to lawyers for both sides in a trial stipulating to facts that are not in dispute. Often in a trial there are facts that one side needs to prove and to which the other side has no contradictory evidence and doesn’t even dispute the issue. That lawyer could force the lawyer for the other side to go through the motions of proving those facts but that would waste a lot of time and be unproductive in the long run. When it became clear that the side objecting to the stipulation had no facts to support their objection, that lawyer would be made to look like an obstructionist, and not acting in good faith.

But having stipulated to one issue is never a reason to try to force a stipulation to another issue that is contested in good faith. Neither is it proper for the Democrats to use the Slaughter House Rule to pass a major piece of legislation that is so hated by the American public because it will change forever the relationship between the individual and the state, and claim that their blatantly unconstitutional gimmick is OK because the Republicans once did something similar to pass an uncontroversial and routine raising of the U.S. debt limit. [putting aside how regrettable raising the debt limit actually is among politicians]

The Hill has raised the number of House Reps in the “no” category to 37, from 34 on Sunday. One more in the “no” column and Obamacare will fail, assuming those who say they are a “no” hold true to their word. This has not dampened enthusiasm on Intrade, however. Obamacare is up to 72.

The actual number of “no’s” could be less if some of those who now say they are a “no” change their mind, or if they are lying. But it could also be more if there are others who really are in the “no” column but refuse to reveal their position.

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