The Corner

The Perils of Constitutional Ignorance

The food safety bill is almost certainly dead. Why? Don’t blame it on GOP obstructionism — while Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) robustly opposed the bill, citing its unpaid-for $1.4 billion price tag, and its new (and ineffective, he argued) regulations, that didn’t stop plenty of Republican senators from backing it.

Instead, it’s because Senate majority leader Harry Reid forgot about that pesky constitutional requirement that all taxes originate in the House.

Here’s the background: The Food Safety bill passed the House in 2009. It had stalled in the Senate, to many Democrats’ dismay, and so Reid spent valuable days during the lame-duck session on debating and voting on the bill. In the end, the bill passed by a comfortable margin, 73 to 25. The White House issued a jubilant statement and urged the House to act quickly to reconcile the Senate and House versions.

And then they discovered that because the Senate bill raised revenues it was unconstitutional. So, the solution became to pass a constitutional food safety bill — as part of the omnibus spending bill.

Since that failed last night, it looks like the food safety legislation is dead. While Democrats are hoping to include the legislation in the continuing resolution, a GOP senate aide told The Hill that won’t be happening.

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

Most Popular

U.S.

How to Bend the News

This, from ABC, is a nice example of a news organization deliberately bending the truth in order to advance a narrative that it wishes were true but is not: Venerable gun manufacturer Colt says it will stop producing the AR-15, among other rifles, for the consumer market in the wake of many recent mass ... Read More
U.S.

Trump’s Total Culture War

 Donald Trump is waging a nonstop, all-encompassing war against progressive culture, in magnitude analogous to what 19th-century Germans once called a Kulturkampf. As a result, not even former president George W. Bush has incurred the degree of hatred from the left that is now directed at Trump. For most of ... Read More
World

Iran’s Act of War

Last weekend’s drone raid on the Saudi oil fields, along with the Israeli elections, opens a new chapter in Middle Eastern relations. Whether the attack on Saudi oil production, which has temporarily stopped more than half of it, was launched by Iranian-sponsored Yemeni Houthis or by the Iranians themselves is ... Read More
Education

George Packer Gets Mugged by Reality

Few journalists are as respected by, and respectable to, liberals as The Atlantic’s George Packer. The author of The Assassin's Gate (2005), The Unwinding (2013), and a recently published biography of Richard Holbrooke, Our Man, Packer has written for bastions of liberal thought from the New York Times Magazine ... Read More