The Corner

Re: The Slaughter Solution

I’m surprised there hasn’t been more constitutional outcry over the so-called “Slaughter Solution.” As the Washington Examiner describes the proposal: 

Each bill that comes before the House for a vote on final passage must be given a rule that determines things like whether the minority would be able to offer amendments to it from the floor.  In the Slaughter Solution, the rule would declare that the House “deems” the Senate version of Obamacare to have been passed by the House. House members would still have to vote on whether to accept the rule, but they would then be able to say they only voted for a rule, not for the bill itself.

The question here is whether the House can “deem” a bill to be passed without voting directly on it — that is, without actually passing it. I think not.

Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution requires that “Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States” (emphasis added).

It seems that voting on a rule that deems a bill to be passed differs importantly from actually passing a bill. The difference is not just formalistic but deeply functional. A core purpose of the constitutional legislative process is to ensure that lawmakers are held accountable to the public. Their legislative voting record has to be clear, so that the electorate can make an informed decision on whether to reelect them. The Slaughter Solution is a piece of subterfuge designed specifically to short-circuit this purpose of electoral accountability, so that congressmen can “say they only voted for a rule, not for the bill itself.” The very attractiveness of the maneuver shows that it plays some role in insulating lawmakers from popular disapproval of their vote, and for that reason it is constitutionally noxious.

Most Popular

Culture

Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More
World

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More