Wednesday, December 1, 2010


In a highly successful attempt to put the "lame" in 'lame-duck session', the Senate has illustrated once again why years of service do not necessarily add up to competence.

Yesterday, Senators were patting themselves on the back and touting their latest accomplishment, S510 - the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.  They sent out press releases and crowed about the bill practically being of a historic nature (aren't they all, these days?) because it is apparently one of the most major pieces of legislation to pass a lame-duck Senate session evah. 

Today, however, the miracle bill has been sent back to chambers as unconstitutional.  Ooops!  What makes it worse is that they were purposely focusing attention on what was originally an obscure bill so that they could toot their own horns and score a few political points.  If it had been allowed to continue unheralded, they could have quietly pulled it back with no egg on their faces. 

In Section 107 there is a set of fees, which are classified as revenue raisers.  According to Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution, only the House can create tax provisions.  The House holds the purse strings, not the Senate, and the Ways and Means Committee is preparting to "blue sheet" the bill, which will block it.  It's unclear whether the House will pursue a bill of their own - if they are, they'd better get cracking, because time is running out on the lame-duck session.

Perhaps there should be a requirement that our elected representatives, who swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, are actually familiar with the document.  This is Civics 101, for heaven's sake.



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