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Shutdown Prevention Squad Jumps Into Action, Fails

April 1, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

With no budget agreement in place and a government shutdown looming, House Republicans are bringing the Government Shutdown Prevention Act of 2011 up for a vote this afternoon. The bill seeks to prevent a shutdown by automatically deeming the House’s budget bill to be the law of the land if the Senate fails to pass their own budget by April 6. So, shutdown prevented? Not quite.

First of all, in order for the Government Shutdown Prevention Act to become law and prevent a shutdown, it would also have to pass the Senate. But the Senate’s not going to pass a bill that says the House can skip the Senate, especially when the Senate has already voted on the House’s budget bill and rejected it.

Beyond that, though, the bill is ridiculously unconstitutional. “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.” That’s from the Constitution. Bills have to be approved by both chambers, in identical versions, before they can become a law, even if the House Republicans of the 112th Congress deem otherwise. The Republicans are attempting to get around this constitutional requirement by including language in the bill directing the Archivist of the United States to print the text of the House budget bill as an appendix once it has passed the House so it can take effect without going through the legislative process. But the Archivist is’t going to do that. Not unless it becomes law, which it won’t.

Oh, and the bill also violates the Republicans’ 72 hour pledge. I’m pretty sure this whole thing is not an April Fools’ Day joke, but who knows…

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fakk2 04/01/2011 1:14pm
in reply to DeborahJBrown Apr 01, 2011 12:28pm

Definitely agree that what they’re doing with this bill makes no sense at all and is completely foolish!

I would have to say though they shouldn’t feel pressured to make any deals on the budget. If they stood their ground and said, “Look, we were put here to not make any deals and cut spending as much as possible. We won’t cave”, then it would be great for their PR and enabling their chances of re-election.

Something tells me that won’t happen though. I think the people who voted the freshmen Representatives in would be content at not passing any budget until the Senate caves, just because it’ll show those people (the voters) they’re not like the Republicans of old.

DeborahJBrown 04/01/2011 12:28pm

Instead of seeking ways to circumvent the constitution and writing ridiculous bills to bypass it, shouldn’t they be working their butts off to find a way to reach a consensus on a budget they can pass before time runs out. Message to Congress: QUIT FOOLING AROUND and get the job done!

fakk2 04/01/2011 11:03am

It’s different because it’s not a violation of an Open Meetings law. Also, although there’s a 72hr rule, they don’t need to follow it for bills to become law. But it would be in their best interest to keep to their promises. Also, before a bill becomes law, as Donny pointed out, no matter what the language in the bill says, it still has to pass the Senate & President to become law. A bill cannot become law unless it does that. There’s no way around it. Wisconsin, on the other hand, has an Open Meetings LAW, which cannot be violated without breaking the law.

Since you brought it up, nothing is illegal about holding unions accountable to private sector standards. The only thing comparable to what Wisconsin did, is the Republicans are tired of being told to work with Democrats, or at least it appears that way. Personally, the representative elected in my district was elected to not make deals. He was elected to cut the spending, and they should do that. It should be $60B or nothing.

kewball 04/01/2011 10:01am

How is this different to what the Republiclowns in Wisconsin tried to do with their No More Unions bill?

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