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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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