TeeJaw Blog

Article One, Section Five, U.S. Constitution

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Friday, March 19, 2010, 4: 42 PM

Article One, Section 5, of the United States Constitution states:

    Each House shall keep a Journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

So, why don’t the Republicans demand the yeas and nays on the Senate Bill (in the House) be entered on the Journal? They are more than one-fifth, so don’t that have that right? Doesn’t Article One, Section 5 provide so?

Unfortunately, the answer is no.

A caller to the Rush Limbaugh show today, a retired lawyer from the Justice Department, raised this point and stated that this is how the Republicans could defeat the Slaughter process. But the Slaughter solution is a sneaky but effective way around this particular provision. It is the reconciliation bill that is being voted on and the Democrats will have no problem entering the yeas and nays on that vote on the Journal. Article One, Section 5 is not a way to get a roll call vote with yeas and nays on the Senate Bill because the Senate Bill will not be presented to the House for a vote. That’s the trick of the Slaughter atrocity. Even though the Slaughter trick prevents the Senate Bill from being presented, the passage of the Slaughter bill will “deem” the Senate Bill to have been passed. Without ever being presented for a vote in the House. Don’t you wish you could do that? Maybe just inform the IRS that you have “deemed” your taxes paid.

The problem with relying on Article One, Section 5 in this instance is that one-fifth cannot force a bill to be brought to the floor for a vote, it can only require yeas and nays be entered on the journal if the bill is brought to the floor for a vote.

If there is any hope of getting this monstrosity overturned in Court it will be under Article One, Section 7 which requires that the identical bill with identical text be passed by both houses and presented to the President before it becomes law. The argument is that the Slaughter Bill in the House and the Senate Bill in the Senate are not the same identical text.

The current low ratings most Americans give to Congress are richly deserved. In fact, if more people understood how this sausage is being made and how sick it is going to make us when we are forced to eat it, I think the rating of Congress would be even lower. Well, there isn’t much room for going lower, I guess.

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