Patterico's Pontifications

4/3/2011

221 House Republicans Thumb Their Nose at the Constitution; UPDATE: Or Not!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:06 pm

[See the UPDATES. I have changed my mind about this, thanks to the persuasive arguments of my commenters. — P]

Let’s recognize the 15 who didn’t.

The House has passed the following ridiculous and laughably unconstitutional law (.PDF):

If the House has not received a message from the Senate before April 6, 2011, stating that it has passed a measure providing for the appropriations for the departments and agencies of the Government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, the provisions of H.R. 1, as passed by the House on February 19, 2011, are hereby enacted into law.

Uh, no it won’t.

This was passed on April 1, and although it is a joke, the people who supported it apparently did so in all seriousness. Which is infuriating.

Anyone who voted for this is either an utter moron, or has chosen to place partisanship above the text of the Constitution. I suspect it is an attempt to avoid being blamed for a shutdown, but doing so by passing a transparently unconstitutional law is, to put it mildly, not the best way to achieve that goal.

Simon from Stubborn Facts declares 221 Republicans to be idiots. Ed Morrissey more politely raps them on the knuckles, but reminds us that Democrats have supported such ridiculous moves themselves (“deem and pass,” anyone?). Ed also helpfully links to the roll call vote.

I thought it was worth it to comb through the list and compile a list of the 15 Republicans who showed fealty to the Constitution and voted “no” on this act. There are damn few enough of them; they ought to be recognized.

Before I give you the list, let me say there are two names I expected to see there: Ron Paul, who for all his crazy foreign policy ideas and thinly veiled anti-Semitism is one of the few people in Congress whose domestic policies resemble something authorized by the Constitution, and Tom McClintock, who is one of the few politicians in America for whom I have total respect, and whom I proudly supported in the California recall election against the RINO Ahhnold.

Here, then, are the only 14 Republicans in the House for whom I retain any respect … plus Ron Paul (sorry, I still don’t respect him):

Amash
Burgess
Chaffetz
Fortenberry
Gohmert
Hanna
Jones
Dan Lungren
Tom McClintock
McCotter
Ron Paul
Ted Poe
Ribble
Rohrabacher
Sensenbrenner

Note that the list does not include “constitutionalist” Michele Bachmann. Other names I was very disappointed to see as “yes” votes include Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, and Darrell Issa (who is doing a fabulous job on Project Gunrunner). Tell me how I can continue to respect these people in light of this vote.

To try to end this highly depressing post on a positive note: other names I was pleased to see among the 15 included Ted Poe, who has done a great job highlighting the dangers posed by our failure to deport illegal alien criminals, and my own representative Dana Rohrabacher. Looks like I can continue to vote for him with a clear conscience.

UPDATE: Commenter Milhouse defends the bill in the comments. I’m not sure I buy his argument … but it’s possible he’s right.

UPDATE x2: Beldar reviews the floor debate. His findings are kinder to my original view than they are to Milhouse’s argument.

UPDATE x3: OK, I think Milhouse, MI, and other commenters have convinced me. I am writing up a new post to explain. I will send it to Ed Morrissey, Simon Dodd, and Jonathan Adler. I will link it here when I am done.

UPDATE x4: I have now finalized my complete 180 on this. You can read my new post here. Thanks to Milhouse, MI, Beldar, and others for their thoughtful and civil discussion.

116 Responses to “221 House Republicans Thumb Their Nose at the Constitution; UPDATE: Or Not!”

  1. These are the stalwarts we are counting on to return us to a constitutional government as envisioned by our founders?

    Patterico (2a6657)

  2. the Constitution was a neat document

    happyfeet (71628d)

  3. Usually, when people refer to the Republicans as “The Stupid Party” it’s because of their infuriating stupidity when it comes to tactics and strategy. It looks like they want to demonstrate that they are multifaceted in their stupidity.

    Anon Y. Mous (69b682)

  4. It depends what they mean by “enacted into law”. Taken literally, it’s just nonsense. It’s not unconstitutional, it’s gibberish, like Congress legislating that the sun rises in the west, or that the square root of 2 is 5.

    What I take it to mean, if inartfully expressed, is that the previous House bill was a negotiating gambit which it never expected to pass the Senate without first going to a conference committee; but if the Senate won’t act on it, and there is no conference committee, then that will become the final House bill. This makes little sense to me either, because surely every House bill is the House bill; but I understand that they want to make it clear that they passed a budget, and if it didn’t make its way into law the blame lies on somebody else.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  5. The question is why are these cowardly republicans stopping there? Why don’t they use their magic pony powers to cut cut cut spending to the bone and to save all the poor blessed fetuses? How many more little baby fetuses must die while Republicans self-limit the use of their magic pony powers to arcane budget issues?

    Inaction is same as complicity I think.

    happyfeet (71628d)

  6. Wait a minute. I just realised something that should have been obvious from the start: This is not a law, and does not pretend to be one; it’s a House bill, just like any other. That’s what the House does, under the constitution: it passes bills. Some of those bills will be passed by the Senate as well, and then they will be sent to the president for his signature or veto. Others won’t. This one is very unlikely to be passed by the Senate, and therefore will never make it into law; so be it. But there’s nothing unconstitutional about it. Were the Senate to pass it and the President to sign it it would be a perfectly valid law.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  7. Oh, I don’t think it was meant as an end run around the Constitution. I doubt anyone who voted for it thought it could possibly hold up. For one thing, it would have to be passed by the Senate. It was just another nudge at Reid on a Friday when Reid had adjourned the Senate because he did not know what to do about Rand Paul’s Libya amendment.

    Rick Caird (0ceb78)

  8. Congressman Poe (formerly Judge Poe of the Harris County Criminal District Court bench) is indeed, and long has been, a genuine mensch.

    No one can defend this nonsense on its merits, my friend, and I certainly won’t try — not, at least, based on what’s been reported so far. (I’m hoping there will be some further facts revealed that will put this in a better light, but I confess to an inability to hypothesize them.)

    By way of mitigation and extenuating circumstances, however, in order of diminishing weight:

    It was dreamed up, written, and voted upon in a big hurry, completely bypassing the normal committee and hearings process, and under extreme pressure and without time for thoughtful consideration — all of which is a product of the Dems’ failure last year to pass a budget for FY2011 and their continuing feckless opposition to the cuts Republicans have insisted upon.

    It was no one’s “Plan A,” but rather was explicitly and unequivocally conditional, based on a predicate that no one (except, well, Obama and the entire Democratic Party) wants to see come about.

    It was symbolic and intended to send a message to the Senate and the White House.

    A lot of GOP members went temporarily insane after reading the language which provides that “The President shall not receive a disbursement of basic pay for any period in which” there’s a more than 24 hour gap in appropriations or there’s a default on interest payments because we’ve hit the current debt ceiling.

    And finally (and most spectacularly weakly): It would be a question of first impression if ever taken to court (and if the plaintiff could get past the justiciability/political question/separation of powers issues). But that, of course, is because no previous House or Senate has ever tried this stunt.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  9. “Hereby enacted into law” is what every bill says; it doesn’t happen, though, until the other two signers on the check account agree.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  10. Milhouse (#6), I wish your theory would wash, and your theory might correspond with what some Congressmen thought was in the bill, but your theory can’t be squared with the plain text of the bill itself. You’re right that it only purports to be a bill, not a passed law. But it’s equally indisputable that it purports to turn itself (a bill) into a passed law while skipping the Senate and the POTUS entirely.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  11. Mr. P your first link doesn’t work – it says your search timed out or something PDF here is a persistent link to the bill text as passed I think

    happyfeet (71628d)

  12. Hmmm. Re-thinking. Wish I hadn’t hit “Submit” yet on #10. Back shortly.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  13. But it’s equally indisputable that it purports to turn itself (a bill) into a passed law while skipping the Senate and the POTUS entirely

    Where does it purport to do that?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  14. First link works for me, btw, and has the virtue of being authoritative, but thomas.loc.gov is always tricky to cite to.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  15. Look at the very first words of this bill:

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled

    There is no suggestion of unilateral legislation by the House!

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  16. Milhouse,

    So as long as the Senate passes it and the President signs it, there’s nothing unconstitutional about this bill which says the Senate does not need to pass another bill, or the President sign it.

    So as long as the procedures which the bill expressly says are unnecessary are followed, the bill is fine.

    Nice try at rationalization. I still have nothing but contempt for this vote and every person who participated in passing this joke.

    Patterico (2a6657)

  17. the silly provisions for cutting the pay of congress and bumble for every day the government is shut down provisions are cute like these wankers think they’re pro athletes or something

    lol.

    But it’s revealing how the vast majority of republicans what voted for this nonsense ascribe to a view that they and the president are basically whores what do it for the money.

    America is in very very good hands.

    happyfeet (71628d)

  18. So as long as the procedures which the bill expressly says are unnecessary are followed, the bill is fine.

    Really? Where does it say any such thing?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  19. Mr. Milhouse did you see this part?

    In publishing this Act in slip form and in the United States Statutes at Large pursuant to section 112 of title 1, United States Code, the Archivist of the United States shall include after the date of approval, if applicable, an appendix setting forth the text of the bill referred to in subsection (a).

    how is that not gay?

    happyfeet (71628d)

  20. There may be good reasons and appropriate times to be a stickler for the rules but (1) this is not that time (2) calling an April 1 message vote “unconstitutional” is the opposite of stickler.

    boris (d9319d)

  21. Was there discussion/floor debate on this? Did anybody commenting here today even know it was happening at the time? I’ve been super busy this week. But this is the first I’ve heard of it. This is politics. Don’t a lot of bills get voted on to make a point–i.e., for reasons other than expecting they’ll ever become law? I need to know more. Many really top notch team R. congressmen voted for this. There has to be more to the story, IMO

    elissa (f9391d)

  22. I replaced the link with happy’s .PDF.

    They want to be able to tell the public that the bill does something it doesn’t do. It is a lie.

    Patterico (2a6657)

  23. Really? Where does it say any such thing?

    I quoted the language in the post. I will not repeat my position over and over.

    Patterico (2a6657)

  24. There may be good reasons and appropriate times to be a stickler for the rules but (1) this is not that time (2) calling an April 1 message vote “unconstitutional” is the opposite of stickler.

    Comment by boris — 4/3/2011 @ 2:01 pm

    I am not just talking about any “rules,” boris. I am talking about the Constitution. And you simply can’t pick and choose times to defend the Constitution: follow it today, ignore it tomorrow if it’s inconvenient.

    Patterico (2a6657)

  25. Okay, I thought that perhaps this could be defended — in conjunction with Milhouse’s comments (#6, #9 & #13) — if language was only being used as a means to conditionally pass H.R. 1, which would become (when enacted) the “Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011.”

    I thought that perhaps this was a legislative short-cut, basically an incorporation-by-reference of H.R. 1 into this vastly shorter version, and that therefore this could be defended as only purporting to do what the House always does.

    That interpretation is perhaps supported by the fact that H.R. 1255 doesn’t say H.R. 1 is passed (or enacted), but rather that “the provisions of H.R. 1 … are hereby enacted into law.” H.R. 1255 isn’t purporting to enact H.R. 1, in other words, but to deem all of H.R. 1’s provisions to be constructively written into H.R. 1255.

    But here’s the problem with that interpretation: H.R. 1 has already passed the House, has been sent to the Senate, and has been read for the second time and placed on the Senate calendar, where it will await Harry Reid’s further pleasure absent some extraordinary maneuvering to bring it to the Senate floor. There’s nothing else that the House itself still needs to do for H.R. 1 to become law, nor (tautologically) anything else that the House itself still needs to do for the provisions that were included in H.R. 1 to become law.

    So if this bill isn’t trying to enact itself without going through the Senate and the POTUS — if it’s just trying to do what the House always does with bills — it’s meaningless.

    The way bills usually begin is with these traditional magic words:

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled ….”

    See, e.g., H.R. 2, “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” also passed by the House and sitting on the Senate calendar.

    I’m not much of a parliamentarian, so I’m going to hold out hope for an explanation that relies on some very technical provisions of the House Rules or some prior full-fledged statute which would put a whole ‘nuther complexion on this.

    In the meantime, Milhouse, can you furnish us with other specific examples of a bill that says another bill, or its provisions, “are hereby enacted into law”?

    Beldar (cd529f)

  26. Happyfeet, what exactly is your problem with the paragraph you quote? It seems quite straightforward. Or are you calling it “gay” as in “happy”?

    Patterico, you did not quote the language saying that the Senate’s passage and President’s signature are unnecessary, because there is no such language. You and Morrissey may imagine it, but it’s not there. If you think it is, kindly point it out.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  27. “can’t pick and choose times to defend the Constitution”

    If everybody agreed what the constitution means we wouldn’t need SCOTUS ruling on it from time to time. Didn’t the House used to have sole authority for passing budgets under the original constitution?

    boris (d9319d)

  28. Milhouse:

    We have Bill 1 and Bill 2. Under the Constitution, for Bill 1 to become law, it must be passed by both the House and Senate and signed by the President. Bill 2 says the Constitution is hereby rewritten so that Bill 1 need not be approved through the constitutional process to become law. Your view is that if Bill 2 is approved through the constitutional process, Bill 2 may alter the constitutional process for the approval of Bill 1.

    I submit that any such rewriting of the Constitution must be approved as a constitutional amendment. Were I a judge, that is how I would rule, and I don’t consider it a close question.

    Patterico (2a6657)

  29. In other words:

    I’m just as confident as Patterico is that the House can’t pass a law by itself. That’s a bedrock constitutional principle that the House can’t escape.

    I’m still open, though, to an alternate explanation that the House was trying to do something other than that with the “the provisions of H.R. 1 … are hereby enacted into law” language. I can’t claim exhaustive knowledge of all the reasons why this sort of cross-reference and adoption-by-reference would be used — maybe something to do with the ease or difficulty of making amendments in the Senate or conference committee? I can’t rule that out; but if there’s such an explanation, someone from the House GOP needs to get it online and in the public eye ASAP.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  30. Milhouse,

    They already passed H.R. 1. If your view is that this is no different than any other House bill, where is the need for the provision quoted in the post?

    Patterico (2a6657)

  31. boris (#27): You may be thinking of Article I, Section 7, which reads (and has always read):

    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.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  32. Beldar, you’re overanalysing it.

    The way bills usually begin is with these traditional magic words:

    Indeed, and so does this bill. It is no different from any other. You have correctly read and construed this bill: it incorporates HR1 by reference, hence the provision cited by happyfeet, which instructs the Archivist to include the text of that bill as an appendix.

    And you’re quite correct that this bill is superfluous, because HR1 is still in the process, and “There’s nothing else that the House itself still needs to do for H.R. 1 to become law, nor (tautologically) […] for the provisions that were included in H.R. 1 to become law”. Where you go wrong is in assuming that the House never ever does anything superfluous or meaningless, and therefore it can’t be doing what it appears to be. There must be some secret provision that you’re not seeing, but which makes this bill do something the previous one didn’t. And you’re succumbing to Morrissey’s conspiracy theory about what that fnord is.

    But there is no fnord. The bill says exactly what it appears to say. And yes, it’s superfluous, at least legally. The majority’s purpose in passing it was entirely political. So what? Every time one house passes a bill it knows the other house won’t, or the congress passes a bill they know the president will veto, or the president issues a veto he knows the congress will override, it’s a political move; that doesn’t make it illegitimate.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  33. If HR2 is passed by the Senate and signed by POTUS does that not produce the same result as passing and signing HR1?

    boris (d9319d)

  34. . Didn’t the House used to have sole authority for passing budgets under the original constitution?

    No.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  35. Bill 2 says the Constitution is hereby rewritten so that Bill 1 need not be approved through the constitutional process to become law.

    No, it does not. Cite the language that says so.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  36. They already passed H.R. 1. If your view is that this is no different than any other House bill, where is the need for the provision quoted in the post?

    Who says there must be a need? That you can’t find a need (because the only need is political) doesn’t justify your rewriting the bill, and reading into it provisions that aren’t there, in an attempt to create one!

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  37. I think Beldar and I are saying the same thing.

    Milhouse will have to explain why HR 1 is being resubmitted if it has already been passed, and what an April 6 deadline means if not a unilateral declaration that a House bill is now law.

    I will say that, like Beldar, I would like to see an explanation that would allow me to retain respect for the vast majority of House Republicans. I have not yet seen that explanation.

    I think this is what boris called it: a message vote. I just think a message vote ought not rewrite the Constitution or even purport to do so.

    Patterico (2a6657)

  38. If HR2 is passed by the Senate and signed by POTUS does that not produce the same result as passing and signing HR1?

    HR1255, not HR2. But yes, that’s exactly what it does.

    The purpose of HR1255 is political. Legally, HR1 has already passed the House and is waiting for the Senate to accept or reject it. The House has passed a budget for 2011, and the Senate has not. This bill simply reminds the public of that fact, by doing it again. The House has now passed a budget twice. Therefore if the Senate doesn’t, and the government shuts down, that’s how the facts will appear. The difference between HR1255 and HR1 is that HR1 was never intended to be the final budget; it was a negotiating position. HR1255 turns it into a final budget, passed by the House and submitted to the other two players for their consideration.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  39. Here’s the other odd wrinkle: Why is H.R. 1255 conditioned not on a vote by the Senate on some particular and enumerated Senate or House bill, but rather on the House’s “recei[pt of] a message from the Senate before April 6, 2011, stating that it has passed a measure providing for the appropriations for the departments and agencies of the Government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011″?

    The only reason I can think of is that they wanted to define the condition in terms that would permit the Senate to come up with something new or unexpected — maybe a rider or amendment to something else, maybe something wholly new but drafted as a new Senate bill.

    But I think there is already a statute or, perhaps, a set of parallel House and Senate Rules, which require the Clerks of the respective chambers to send bills to each other when passed.

    Maybe, then, this entire bill was designed to come into play if, but only if, the Senate passed a bill meeting the specification — i.e., “providing for the appropriations for the departments and agencies of the Government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011″ — but not through H.R. 1 or anything else the House has already passed. If the Senate acts, and sends a message, then that alone is enough to prevent the condition from ever being satisfied, even if the House hasn’t yet passed that same version.

    I’m just desperately spit-balling here, but that’s the best substantive justification I’ve been able to think of so far. Or, rather than “justification,” perhaps “explanation” for why such an unconventional and unusual bill could be passed.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  40. The April 6 deadline means that should the Senate pass a version of HR1 before that date, then the House will negotiate in a conference committee, and this will not represent its final offer. But if the Senate doesn’t act, then the provisional bid becomes the final offer. That’s all.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  41. Milhouse:

    I believe the reason it is done superfluously is to allow lawmakers to argue a lie to the public: that they passed a law that would by itself fund the government.

    If you can meet Beldar’s challenge to provide another law that says a different bill “is hereby enacted into law” that will go a long way towards supporting your argument.

    Patterico (2a6657)

  42. I reacted very negatively to Milhouse’s argument at first but am giving it more thought now.

    It’s not impossible that she’s right.

    Patterico (2a6657)

  43. Beldar, it’s very simple. If the Senate returns to the court and starts playing ball again, then the House will resume playing. It doesn’t matter whether the Senate passes an amended version of HR1 or of some other House bill (remember that the Senate cannot initiate financial bills). All that matters is that the game resume in some fashion. But as it stands now the House has scored, and the Senate immediate went off the court into a huddle, and has been standing there for over an hour, showing no sign of ever intending to return to the court. This is the House saying to the Senate “shall we call it 1-0, then?”.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  44. argue a lie to the public: that they passed a law that would by itself fund the government

    Or a stake out assertion that MUST be refudiated by the Senate and/or POSUS publicly taking the blame for no budget.

    boris (d9319d)

  45. Maybe, then, this entire bill was designed to come into play if, but only if, the Senate passed a bill meeting the specification — i.e., “providing for the appropriations for the departments and agencies of the Government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011″ — but not through H.R. 1 or anything else the House has already passed. If the Senate acts, and sends a message, then that alone is enough to prevent the condition from ever being satisfied, even if the House hasn’t yet passed that same version.

    But then again, if the Senate doesn’t send the hypothesized message that prevents the condition from being triggered, what possible good does it do to re-pass the “provisions of H.R. 1″ through the House via H.R. 1255?

    Is there some way that the GOP senators could force a vote on H.R. 1255 that they can’t force on H.R. 1 itself? I can’t think of them, but then again, maybe there’s some weird parliamentary reason why the later-filed and later-passed bill that incorporates by reference the provisions of H.R. 1 is somehow more powerful than H.R. 1 itself.

    This is making my head hurt. My gut still tells me that Occam’s Razor applies, and that the simplest and obvious explanation — i.e., that this is a stupid blunder, not a clever tactic — is correct. But sometimes my gut is wrong.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  46. I believe the reason it is done superfluously is to allow lawmakers to argue a lie to the public: that they passed a law that would by itself fund the government.

    Not a lie. If it were such a lie as you suggest, then the obvious retort would be “so why are the government offices not open?” And the obvious answer is “because we passed it, but the Senate and the President didn’t”; which is the exact truth.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  47. We want to get this sort of thing ruled unconstitutional while Republicans are in control. You might get a different ruling when the Democrats are in control. The Republicans should bring one unconstitutional bill after another for the purpose of clearing up constitutionality.

    j curtis (2640d2)

  48. But then again, if the Senate doesn’t send the hypothesized message that prevents the condition from being triggered, what possible good does it do to re-pass the “provisions of H.R. 1″ through the House via H.R. 1255?

    It does no legal good, but nor does it do any legal harm; it does political good. It’s saying “we passed it, they didn’t”. True, they already passed HR1, but at the time they didn’t intend that to be their final budget, and therefore didn’t publicise it as such.

    Is there some way that the GOP senators could force a vote on H.R. 1255 that they can’t force on H.R. 1 itself?

    No.

    My gut still tells me that Occam’s Razor applies, and that the simplest and obvious explanation — i.e., that this is a stupid blunder, not a clever tactic — is correct.

    It’s only a blunder if you and your fellow bloggers make it one, by inventing constitutional problems that aren’t there.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  49. If it’s just trying to re-pass the provisions of H.R. 1, then H.R. 1255 should have said “the provisions of H.R. 1, as passed by the House on February 19, 2011, shall hereby be deemed to have been passed by the House.” Because that’s what the House and Senate do: They “pass” bills and “pass” orders, resolutions, and votes (to use the language of Article I, Section 7). Neither of them ever “enacts”; even when they both override a presidential veto by a 2/3rds vote, the Constitution doesn’t say they “enact” it but instead that “it [i.e., the vetoed bill after both chambers’ overrides] shall become a Law” — effectively a deeming (but without using the word “deem”).

    So why does H.R. 1255 say “enact,” unless it’s trying to make a bill into law all by itself?

    I know I’m chasing my own tail here. Or Patterico and I are chasing each others’ tails. Either way, Milhouse, you’re leading a merry chase!

    (And I’ve always assumed you were male, for absolutely no reason other than an association with Richard M. Nixon. Damn, I’m sexist, in addition to be racist, violent, greedy, and all those other things you have to be to be a member of the GOP in good standing.)

    Beldar (cd529f)

  50. Eh, re “political good”: There’s a maxim of statutory interpretation which says that Congress will not be presumed to have performed a meaningless act. Now, that’s the federal courts being charitable, I’ll grant you. But them’s supposedly the rules. Political statements are supposed to be made, and traditionally are made, through non-binding resolutions.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  51. I think I’m in the corner that says it’s good old fashioned GOP strategery.

    elissa (f9391d)

  52. Beldar, every bill says it enacts a law. Every bill, including this one starts off “Be it enacted”. Remember, this is not a House resolution, it’s a House bill, which on passage is sent to the Senate and then to the President. So it doesn’t “deem” anything, it enacts. If the Senate passes it and the President signs it then it will indeed be enacted, and the provisions of the so-far-unenacted HR1 will become law. The text of HR1 will be published as an appendix to this law, and there will be no further need for the Senate to act on HR1 itself.

    Of course, none of that is going to happen, and the House knows that very well. But your complaint isn’t about the expectation, it’s about the form, and as I’ve explained for the umpteenth time there’s nothing wrong with the form. Yes, it’s legally redundant, but so what?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  53. I over-argued in suggesting that the House and Senate never use the word “enact.” Let me try to straighten myself out:

    When the House or Senate write “Be it enacted” at the beginning of a bill, that word is actually used, I believe, as a specific accommodation of the constitutional fact that the bill has to go through the other chamber. By contrast, the traditional magic language doesn’t mention the president’s signature, and doesn’t need to, and ought not, because bills that become law through a veto override never get the president’s signature.

    Both chambers “pass” something which says “Be it enacted,” in other words. But neither of them, by themselves, does any enacting, or even purports to do any enacting, without the other. And that’s why each chamber always specifically references the other in that same magic language.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  54. There’s a maxim of statutory interpretation which says that Congress will not be presumed to have performed a meaningless act.

    That’s where there are two laws that appear to duplicate each other. But it’s never going to happen that both HR1 and HR1255 become law. In fact it’s not going to happen that either one becomes law. So no court is ever going to have to apply that courteous pretense. The real purpose of this bill is political, and politically it’s not redundant.

    Don’t forget that you yourself have advocated, over and over, that Congress pass a budget that it knows the President won’t sign. So you have no objection to using the legislative process for political gain.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  55. Oh well, I’m going to stop thinking about this. Tomorrow we’ll find that a certain un-named political news website has posted Speaker Boehner or Majority Leader Kantor’s explanation, and Aaron will have to figure out how to write about that without violating Patterico’s boycott. :-)

    Beldar (cd529f)

  56. And this bill (law, if it ever becomes one) says that the provisions of HR1, which is to be included as an appendix, are hereby enacted. It’s exactly like signing a check on which two other signatures are needed; it’s not a valid check with just your signature, but you’re not engaging in any kind of fraud by signing first! It will be a valid check, if and only if the other two people also sign. Otherwise it will be garbage.

    Oh, and BTW I am male. I don’t know where Patterico got the opposite assumption.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  57. What was the bill about?

    DohBiden (984d23)

  58. Last hurrah for now, seriously, but:

    Don’t forget that you yourself have advocated, over and over, that Congress pass a budget that it knows the President won’t sign. So you have no objection to using the legislative process for political gain.

    No, actually, underlying my cynicism is a kernel of institutional good faith. Even though I know Obama won’t sign whatever the House produces if it contains real spending cuts or cuts Dems’ pet programs, my fidelity to the Rule of Law and our constitutional republic require me to presume that there’s at least a theoretical chance that President Obama will suddenly become reasonable. And sending up a bill passed by both chambers, even in the expectation of a veto, is not at all what this odd bit of legislation is doing.

    I’m not persuaded that the excuse, if there is one, is the “political gesture.” If there’s an excuse, it’s something specifically to do with House and Senate procedural rules that’s really arcane.

    Upon becoming speaker, Boehner acquired the services of Parliamentarian of the House John V. Sullivan. The position is nonpartisan, and there have only been four since it was created in 1928. I can’t imagine that Boehner or someone on the GOP team didn’t ask him about this. I wish we could.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  59. The Rs who voted for this are different than the Rs who voted against it.

    hf (c16705)

  60. Looks like Republicans can ignore the constitution too. It’s been kind of difficult being the only party that has actually paid attention to it. If you can’t beat em join em.

    kansas (313837)

  61. I am encouraged lately by the gradual awakening occuring amongst even statist neocon sites such as Patterico’s , American Thinker etc. to the fact that Ron Paul was right re: our fiscal house. Someday even Mr. Worthing and Patterico may wake up

    sailfished (b32b4e)

  62. <blockquoteEven though I know Obama won’t sign whatever the House produces if it contains real spending cuts or cuts Dems’ pet programs, my fidelity to the Rule of Law and our constitutional republic require me to presume that there’s at least a theoretical chance that President Obama will suddenly become reasonable. And sending up a bill passed by both chambers, even in the expectation of a veto, is not at all what this odd bit of legislation is doing.So it’s OK for both houses together to send the president something they know he won’t sign, but not for one house to send the other something it knows it won’t pass? Where’s the logic in that? If the Senate and the President were suddenly to become reasonable, they could pass and sign this bill and it would become law. Or they could pass and sign HR1; their choice. There’s nothing unconstitutional in either one. But we all know that the Senate won’t pass HR1255, any more than it passed HR1, so its practical purpose is political.

    I can’t imagine that Boehner or someone on the GOP team didn’t ask him about this.

    What makes you think they didn’t, or that he didn’t approve? I have no idea whether they thought it necessary to ask him, but I’m sure if they did then he agreed it was valid.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  63. Oops. That should be:

    Even though I know Obama won’t sign whatever the House produces if it contains real spending cuts or cuts Dems’ pet programs, my fidelity to the Rule of Law and our constitutional republic require me to presume that there’s at least a theoretical chance that President Obama will suddenly become reasonable. And sending up a bill passed by both chambers, even in the expectation of a veto, is not at all what this odd bit of legislation is doing.

    So it’s OK for both houses together to send the president something they know he won’t sign, but not for one house to send the other something it knows it won’t pass? Where’s the logic in that? If the Senate and the President were suddenly to become reasonable, they could pass and sign this bill and it would become law. Or they could pass and sign HR1; their choice. There’s nothing unconstitutional in either one. But we all know that the Senate won’t pass HR1255, any more than it passed HR1, so its practical purpose is political.

    I can’t imagine that Boehner or someone on the GOP team didn’t ask him about this.

    What makes you think they didn’t, or that he didn’t approve? I have no idea whether they thought it necessary to ask him, but I’m sure if they did then he agreed it was valid.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  64. sailfished are you high?

    DohBiden (984d23)

  65. Milhouse:

    I don’t know where I got the opposite assumption either. Sorry.

    sailfished:

    When did I ever deny Ron Paul was right on fiscal matters?

    Patterico (906cfb)

  66. This legislative stuff is way beyond my pay grade but I think it’s interesting that HR 1255 is entitled the Government Shutdown Prevention Act of 2011. I know all legislation has a PC/politicized name these days but this one suggests the GOP thinks they can use HR 1255 to argue if there is a government shutdown, it isn’t their fault.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  67. Patterico, no offense taken; I’m not sexist, so I don’t mind being assumed to be female. (I have on occasion sent you email with my real name on it, which happens to be the same as that of a male LA City Councilman. But you probably never noticed, or have long forgotten it.)

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  68. this one suggests the GOP thinks they can use HR 1255 to argue if there is a government shutdown, it isn’t their fault.

    Exactly. Since they expect the Senate not to pass it, that is its purpose. Nothing wrong with that, so long as it’s something the Senate could consitutionally pass. Morrissey and Patterico falsely claim that it isn’t, but they’re wrong.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  69. ________________________________________

    how is that not gay?
    Comment by happyfeet — 4/3/2011 @ 2:00 pm

    So, happyfeet, it’s therefore a good thing? The meaning of “gay” should be interpreted in a positive way? Correct?

    That’s okay. There are plenty of latte liberals — eg, staunch supporters of same-sex marriage — who will wince at their own inner-most bigotry, or racism, or sexism, or age-ism, or whatever.

    Mark (411533)

  70. B-but purists purges 3rd party

    /GOPbots

    DohBiden (984d23)

  71. ____________________________________________

    Oh, and BTW I am male.

    Milhouse, we live in an age of gender confusion, of GLBT, of marriage newly defined! [snerk]

    are hereby enacted into law.

    Huh? How can something not approved by both the Senate and House of Representatives, much less not signed by the President, become law? Am I missing something here?

    Milhouse, I admire your approach to the issue — since I don’t like the idea of Republicans/conservatives looking as idiotic and dumbed down as so many Democrats/liberals often do — but just the words “hereby enacted into law” should have made anyone reading the proposed law — assuming he or she even noticed those words to begin with — shake his head and mutter “I’ve been punked!”

    Mark (411533)

  72. If the Congress stopped passing unconstitutional acts, just what in Hell would they do with their time?

    AD-RtR/OS! (f48b1c)

  73. Milhouse, we live in an age of gender confusion, of GLBT, of marriage newly defined! [snerk]

    Hey, I didn’t say I was straight, did I? It’s really no big deal that Patterico referred to me in the feminine; I would never have bothered correcting him had Beldar not made it an issue.

    are hereby enacted into law.

    Huh? How can something not approved by both the Senate and House of Representatives, much less not signed by the President, become law? Am I missing something here?

    Yes, you’re missing the same thing that Morrissey, Patterico, Beldar, and Jonathan Adler missed: it’s a bill, not an act. It would become an act, and therefore what it says would happen, if the Senate were to pass it and the President sign it. Since they won’t, it won’t, and it doesn’t pretend otherwise. A bill is by definition a proposed act, and is therefore worded as it should ultimately appear, complete with “be it enacted”. If you don’t object to the initial “be it enacted”, then you have no grounds for objecting to the second “are hereby enacted”. “Hereby” means by means of this (proposed) law.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  74. Gentlemen, I might not have a JD or a bar card, but I am of the strong opinion that Milhouse has the meat of this. It is a clumsy and kludgey political statement, but it is redundant and therefore superfluous and therefore I’m sure the authors of the bill felt it meant nothing other than a political statement saying in effect “Don’t look at me! We PASSED a budget! If you can’t get your SS check because the SSA has shut down for the duration, talk to those morons over there!”

    Rorschach (7a2fd6)

  75. Look, if it were up to me I’d have had the House simply re-pass HR1 verbatim. Or else pass a resolution reminding the Senate and President (and the public) that HR1 was passed and is languishing in the Senate, and stating that the House continues to stand by it. HR1255’s language has certainly confused some people, and that itself is a flaw.

    But at the end of the day, all it does is incorporate the text of HR1 by reference, and there’s nothing unconstitutional about that. It does not purport to bypass anybody. In fact it starts, as do all bills, “be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled”, thus making it clear that the final Act would be the word of both houses.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  76. “This is not a law, and does not pretend to be one; it’s a House bill, just like any other. That’s what the House does, under the constitution: it passes bills. Some of those bills will be passed by the Senate as well, and then they will be sent to the president for his signature or veto. Others won’t. This one is very unlikely to be passed by the Senate, and therefore will never make it into law; so be it. But there’s nothing unconstitutional about it.”

    Correct, it’s a bill, not a law, and becomes a law only when Senate agrees to it, so the hissy fit over this bill is completely misplaced. I think it is a serious effort to get to a deal that doesnt lead to Govt shutdown, but even if you dont agree and just think it is a showboating bill that Harry Reid wont touch anyway, that doesnt make it in any way ‘unconstitutional’.

    In the end, THE US SENATE HAS TO ACT, and this bill, with its ‘we really mean it’ approach, is trying to highlight that reality.

    Patrick (56524c)

  77. Milhouse,

    What you say makes sense, but then how do you explain why 14 apparently conservative GOP members of the house voted against it? Here’s the roll call vote on HR 1. It doesn’t look like any Republicans voted No on that.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  78. I was very, very wrong in assuming that there was little or no floor debate. There was. Late in the day, there’s much more by way of attempted explanation by the GOP reps. I’m trying to slog through it and if I don’t doze off first, I’ll try to post the best parts over at my shop in a new post.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  79. “Huh? How can something not approved by both the Senate and House of Representatives, much less not signed by the President, become law?”
    It cant.
    ” Am I missing something here?”

    What you are missing is that the bill on Friday needs to be signed and passed as law before anything is enacted, and the House bill does NOT claim otherwise. The confusion is wrought by the House expediency of incorporating HR1 by reference and not explicit language. However, the Senate has to AGREE to make the bill passed on Friday a law, and in so agreeing they make the operation constitutional.

    Patrick (56524c)

  80. “What you say makes sense, but then how do you explain why 14 apparently conservative GOP members of the house voted against it?”

    The bill was constitutional, but also confusing to some and gimmicky. So, yeah, they could have repassed HR1 (but to what end? Its languishing in the Senate already) … OR they could have laid their cards out in terms of negotiation in a bill – which is what they did. IF it was flawed, I would like to hear from the 14 what better ideas they have and get them on the table.

    Patrick (56524c)

  81. What you say makes sense, but then how do you explain why 14 apparently conservative GOP members of the house voted against it?

    Better question: what explanation do you have for why so many confirmed conservatives and constitutionalists voted for it? Those who voted for it thought that vote would make them look good; the same applies to those who voted against it. I don’t believe these 15 are any smarter or more principled than Paul Ryan or John Shadegg or Alan West or Eric Cantor or Tim Scott or Tim Walberg, or 50 other hard-line House Republicans. Maybe some of them misunderstood the bill, just as so many bloggers have done; or maybe they were afraid their constituents would misunderstand it; or maybe they had indigestion and were in a bad mood; I don’t know and I don’t care.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  82. It would become an act, and therefore what it says would happen, if the Senate were to pass it and the President sign it.

    Your persistence in arguing the point has been so effective I went back and read through every posting of yours and others above. IOW, I confess to having first clicked on this blog entry, breezing through its feature comments (from Patterico), and — being rather lazy, and like a person barging into the middle of a conversation — not really knowing the specifics of the debate you were raising.

    I know Democrats/liberals often do things that make this nation look like it’s one step away from being a flat-out Banana Republic, so I obviously hope your contention regarding the Republicans and this bill, and not the POV of those you’re rebutting, is the correct one.

    However, it seems that the language of the bill, instead of reading like this…


    If the House has not received a message from the Senate before April 6, 2011….the provisions of H.R. 1, as passed by the House on February 19, 2011, are hereby enacted into law.


    …should have been configured to say “the provisions…are hereby enacted into law upon the approval of the Senate and President.” Or something along those lines. But I’m a novice, if not also a naif, when it comes to the rules of setting up legislation, so I have to defer to those with more insight and knowledge, which hopefully includes you.

    Mark (411533)

  83. Here are Speaker Boehner’s talking points on the matter – straight from his press office:

    House Republicans Passed a Bill 43 Days Ago to Cut Spending, Keep the Government Running; Senate Democrats Still Haven’t Taken Action

    * Forty-three days after the House passed H.R. 1, Senate Democrats still haven’t passed a bill or offered a credible plan to cut spending and keep the government running. Time is running out.

    * Here’s a look at Senate Democrats’ playbook for budget negotiations: 1) refuse to pass a bill, 2) root for a government shutdown, and 3) paint the spending cuts demanded by the American people as “extreme.”

    * WATCH: Speaker Boehner says there is “no agreement” with Senate Democrats and that Republicans are fighting for the largest spending cuts possible.

    * First-term Republican lawmakers rallied outside the Capitol Building last week urging the Senate to pass a bill. Read the letter from GOP freshmen to Senate Democratic leaders.

    * WATCH: Speaker Boehner says if Democrats have a plan they should “pass the damn thing.”

    * Remember: we’re only in this mess because the Democrat-run Congress failed to even propose a budget last year.

    Patrick (56524c)

  84. What’s worse than the Repubs that voted for it?

    Try Lawrence O’Donnell going off on the GOP with the most viscious derisive spite he could muster — without even a hint of recognition about the April 1st timing. Pathetic.

    Icy Texan (ed81d9)

  85. It was a slap at Harry Reid and Obama, nothing more, nothing less

    I dont think those 14 necessarily are any more conservative than anyone else, maybe just not have the stones to take a shot at democrats

    EricPWJohnson (3276df)

  86. However, it seems that the language of the bill, instead of reading like this…

    If the House has not received a message from the Senate before April 6, 2011….the provisions of H.R. 1, as passed by the House on February 19, 2011, are hereby enacted into law.

    …should have been configured to say “the provisions…are hereby enacted into law upon the approval of the Senate and President.”

    No, that’s exactly wrong. This is not a House resolution, it’s a bill for an act. If it were successfully to become an act (which won’t happen) it would be the law of the land. The “supreme law of the land”, to use the grandiloquent language of the constitution. The Senate would already have passed it by then, and the President would already either have signed it or had his veto overridden. Nothing more would need to be done.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  87. My understanding is that the State Department is doing something exactly as awful as what the House did here. The State Department is waving around a mere Senate resolution (SR 85) as proof that Congress authorized the war in Libya.

    Andrew (8a18ab)

  88. Milhouse,

    I thought it likely that the GOP representatives who voted in favor of HR 1255 would vote the same way they voted on HR 1, since HR 1255 incorporates HR 1 by reference. That’s why I was surprised to see 14 GOP votes had changed and apparently even Ron Paul abstained on HR 1.

    That fact makes me think something has changed between mid-February when they voted on HR 1 and now, when they voted on HR 1255. Maybe you are correct that some Republicans are worried about how their constituents will feel, didn’t understand the bill, etc. But the change in votes strikes me as curious and now that Beldar says the issue was debated, it makes me wonder if there’s more to this story.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  89. Since most of what the federal government does is unconstitutional, I figure any blanket appropriations bill has to be unconstitutional too.

    Dave Surls (83f711)

  90. DRJ

    I’m not surprized, some of the 14 are ginning up for a pyrric stand over the budget, some others are pledging to not vote for any spending bill that doesnt include steep cuts – so we will be seeing alot of this

    EricPWJohnson (3276df)

  91. Or maybe they didn’t get the committee assignment they wanted, or they didn’t get the bill they wanted through, or they didn’t get enough speaking time in some debate, or Boehner or Cantor passed them in the hall without saying hello, or any number of possible reasons. I see no point in speculating, and no significance in the shift. If all or most of the reliable TEA partiers in the House had voted against, that would be different.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  92. _____________________________________________

    No, that’s exactly wrong. This is not a House resolution, it’s a bill for an act.

    Milhouse, this is one debate where I hope my skepticism is wrong and I’m guilty of plain ignorance. But I’m so puzzled by the wording in HR 1255, that I went to the effort of opening the PDF file posted in Patterico’s blog entry to see if some text in 1255 had been overlooked by naysayers like me.

    The phrase “hereby enacted into law” is what I can’t figure out. Does “enacted” refer to no more than something passed by the House of Reps, and “law” refers to no more than proposed legislation?

    Help me (and others) out here.

    Mark (411533)

  93. Mark, you’re not getting it: this is a bill for an act, just like every single bill for an act that the House or the Senate passes. It says right up at the top, as I’ve quoted several times already, “be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives”. I’m not sure how much more plainly I can explain it. This is how bills are worded. This is what they do. If they pass Congress and are signed by the president, or his veto is overridden, they enact various provisions into law. That’s what they’re about. And of course if they don’t pass both houses, or they’re successfully vetoed, then they remain bills and never become acts, and they don’t enact anything. Capisce?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  94. Just how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

    Just how many Americans can face the real problem without blinking?

    Just how many members of Congress can do the same?

    Ag80 (efea1d)

  95. Okay, I’ve got a post up with what I think I learned, and didn’t, in reviewing the Congressional Record of the House floor debate on Friday.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  96. I’m thinking someone was being too clever, or did not drink their morning coffee before writing this bill. [Reading Beldar’s second post I’m even more certain of that.]

    Consider what it says, reduced to simplest terms.

    This bill and therefore HR 1 will be deemed enacted into law [and therefore deemed passed by the Senate and signed by the President] if by 4/6 the Senate does not notify us that it has acted on the budget in some fashion.

    Now, notice that if the Senate were to pass HR 1255, the Senate would have acted on the budget, and HR 1255/HR 1 will not become law.

    So the bill becomes a law if the Senate does not act, but of course it can not become a law unless the Senate acts….

    kishnevi (827a72)

  97. Okay, between my comments here and my two posts at my blog, that’s about eight hours of research and writing invested. Who do I bill for this? Any volunteers? :-)

    Beldar (cd529f)

  98. I guess I’ll send the bill to Karl Rove, but he still owes me from 2004.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  99. “We make ’em up as we go along”
    Alcee Hastings, March 20, 2010

    elissa (f9391d)

  100. What a great post and thread.

    Beldar, thank you for your hard work in preparing your analysis (2nd post). It helped me understand this further…(it demanded a second read).

    Millhouse, thank you, too, for your challenging comments, and patient spelling-it-out not only for Mark but the rest of us as well (#94).

    On a side note, Rep. Lee made me laugh with her ridiculous accusation that Republicans would be “killing off seniors and those in classrooms” with their sought after spending cuts.

    Dana (9f3823)

  101. ____________________________________

    Mark, you’re not getting it

    Milhouse, my head hurts from trying to decipher all this out. LOL.

    I’ve whipped through Beldar’s assessment of HR 1255, and the ambiguities and gray areas still have me stumped.

    However, I think it’s safe to assume that some of the original cynicism and resentment that was lobbed at the Republicans who signed onto 1255 was premature. By contrast, I wouldn’t put it past folks on the left — since, as one example, most ambulance chasers are devout liberals — to think it would be clever and appropriately tricky to pass a law that would do an end run around mean ol’ opposing political forces (eg, a Republican White House, a Republican-led Senate). But when it comes to a majority of members of the current (post-late-2010) House of Reps, they apparently deserve some benefit of the doubt.

    Mark (411533)

  102. This is confusing but in trying to understand a small part of this, wouldn’t there *have* to have been prior precedent that the GOP relied on, as well as *having* to have some kind of procedural argument why it’s valid?

    Dana (9f3823)

  103. The precedent is every bill that has ever passed the House since 1789. There is nothing unusual about this one. The idea that the mere passage of HR1255 through the House somehow “self-enacts” HR1 is the stuff of paranoid conspiracy theories.

    As I just posted over at Beldar’s place, the bill says that the provisions of HR1 “are hereby enacted into law”. This is the language that you find so troubling. Would you be just as troubled if it had said “the provisions of the President’s Debt Commission’s report”, or “the provisions of the column by Mr John Smith published on page 12 of the Woop-Woop Times, Reporter, Mercury, and Examiner on 1-Apr-2011, and titled A Modest Proposal For Our Solons In Washington“? It could just as easily have done. A law may incorporate by reference text from any document; this text happens to come from a bill that the House passed. Doing so no more enables the House to unilaterally make laws than my other examples would bestow legislative power on a presidential commission or on a random editorialist.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  104. Dana, thank you for the kind words all around.

    But you should know that it’s “Rep. Jackson Lee,” with no hyphen. You racist baby-killer.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  105. (I’m sure trusting the readers of these comments to have better than average sarcasm detectors, but I fully expect to see these comments cited someday for my admission that I’m a Karl Rove stooge.)

    Beldar (cd529f)

  106. What, Boehner is going to have Nancy “deem” it as having passed?

    AD-RtR/OS! (f48b1c)

  107. Rethugdimcons cherish the Constitution… when they are in the opposition! When having majority, however, they just wipe their bottoms with it! And wipe their asses they should, for they’ll take it up next year! Obama 2012!

    Zoubida (0692b1)

  108. i would say the only defense to this is that it sticks dems for their deem and pass.

    But 1) its even worse than that and 2) its still hypocritical on their point, too.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  109. I’m no con law expert, but viewing these arguments simply as a matter of logic and game theory (ie, consider the whole issue as a sort of chess position), I’d say Milhouse is largely right here.

    This thread would make excellent educational reading for a good high-school or junior-high civics class. The issues and arguments (and the positions of our learned combatants here) are inherently interesting and they open onto still further good questions; lots of material here for a lively classroom discussion.

    Nice job, racists!

    d. in c. (6d8a47)

  110. Go to hell zoobida you hypocrite.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  111. 1. Incorporation by reference of extrastatutory material via “hereby enacted into law” language has been done many times over the past quarter-century. For example, a 1999 appropriations act (*) provided that:

    The provisions of the following bills are hereby enacted into law:
    . . . .
    (8) H.R. 3428 of the 106th Congress, as introduced on November 17, 1999 . . . .

    I’ve collected other examples in a post here:

    aleksandreia.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/incorporation-by-reference-and-the-government-shutdown-prevention-act/

    2. The “hereby enacted into law” language has been deemed permissible under the Presentment Clause. See Hershey Foods Corp. v. USDA, 158 F. Supp. 2d 37, 41 (D.D.C. 2001) (“Congress may incorporate by cross-reference in its bills if it chooses to legislate in that manner. Nothing in the Presentment Clause, or elsewhere in the Constitution, demands otherwise.”), aff’d, 293 F.3d 520 (D.C. Cir. 2002). More generally, as noted in a recent GAO letter report, “[l]egislative incorporation by reference is well founded historically and the Supreme Court has accepted it as a legislative tool without objection.” U.S. GOV’T ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, B-316010, CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008—INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE 9 (2008).

    (*) Act of Nov. 29, 1999, Pub. L. No. 106-113, § 1000(a), 113 Stat. , 1536 (1999).

    MI (1cd993)

  112. UPDATE x3: OK, I think Milhouse, MI, and other commenters have convinced me. I am writing up a new post to explain. I will send it to Ed Morrissey, Simon Dodd, and Jonathan Adler. I will link it here when I am done.

    Patterico (906cfb)

  113. Rethugdimcons

    LOL

    carlitos (00428f)

  114. Zoobida is compensating for a small weenus.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  115. I think they’ll be in the new Transformer film.

    narciso (b545d5)


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