Friday, August 5, 2011

Catch of the Day

To Ed Morrissey, over at Hot Air, who explains to conservatives that the Joint Select Committee established in the debt limit deal is, in fact, Constitutional. I admit I wasn't aware of this particular controversy, but I do recognize it: it's exactly the same as the claims about "Czars" in Barack Obama's White House. Step one: something ordinary happens. Step two: the ordinary things is given a catchy but hyped up name (thus the Joint Select Committee is instead a "Super Congress.") Step three: people who don't know better, and probably some who do, extrapolate from the headline-friendly name to wild conclusions.

Anyway, yes, it's perfectly ordinary for Congress to create committees, and for Congress to handcuff itself in advance, including setting up rules that do not allow for amendments. Pretty basic: "Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings." That's Article I, Section 5, and it's about as clear as you can get.

Oh -- it also gives me an excuse to link to the latest from Sarah Binder about the new Select Committee.

One nitpick: Morrissey incorrectly says that "Rules concerning debate and amendments are passed in the Rules Committee in each chamber for each bill presented." That's only true of the House; the Senate Rules Committee is in charge of parking spaces, or something like that, and has no role in consideration of legislation on the Senate floor. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration; Senate Rules does have jurisdiction over the standing rules of the Senate, so proposals to reform those rules go through the committee. No role in individual bills, however.

On the main point, however, Morrissey is obviously correct. Nice catch!

(Via Greg).

1 comment:

  1. Good one. In Mississippi I'm dealing with conservatives who think the bill has created an unconstitutional 'secret Congress' that has something to do with Obama's plan to install himself as a dictator.


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