Senate Shennanigans

Written by Michael Badnarik

Shortly after I began studying the Constitution over 25 years ago, I came to the stunning conclusion that MOST of what our government does is unconstitutional. Not surprisingly, I quickly began to doubt my research, convinced that – if it were true – someone much smarter than me would have already documented the fact and raised the alarm. I was certain that additional study would explain everything and quell my fears.

It turns out that was wishful thinking. Additional study has only made me more certain that our Constitution is being deliberately subverted. Perhaps the recent and most egregious insult to the Constitution is the Senate’s recent vote in favor of the 700 BILLION dollar bailout. Not only is the bailout itself an insult to anyone with a shred of intelligence, but the way they went about it suggests that rules are made to be broken.

Article 1, Section 7, clause 1 states, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.” This clause requires the House of Representatives (of the people) to initiate any bill that would raise our taxes. That makes sense. If they fail to represent us, we can always vote them out in two years.

What the Senate did in this case was to take an old House bill, completely replace the text of the bill pretending that it was only amended, and then rush it through the Senate for an affirmative vote. The first page of the bill blatantly admits it is an “Amendment in the nature of a substitute”. You don’t have to be an expert on the Constitution to know that the Founding Fathers didn’t intend that much latitude in Senate procedures.

As far as I’m concerned, this is enough of a “smoking gun” to indict everyone in the Senate whether they voted for the bill or not. (For the record, seventy-four voted in favor, twenty-five voted against, with one abstaining.) Just one Senator with scruples could and should have blown the whistle on the other ninety-nine.

Unless I’m overlooking something, Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, will now be given 700 Billion dollars to spend without any oversight, and with full immunity from any future prosecution? Excuse me?! What – if anything – are the American people going to do about it? Where are the angry crowds filling the streets? Where are the demands for impeachment? What would Patrick Henry or Thomas Jefferson do? Sit idly by while nearly a Trillion of their hard-earned dollars are stolen in broad daylight? I hardly think so.

The Founding Fathers had a level of intelligence and a courage of their convictions that most Americans won’t even aspire to. I’m worried that, like the French Revolution, we know what we don’t want, but have no clue what we do want. Perhaps it’s time to dust off the Federalist Papers to learn what the Senate is supposed to be doing with their time.

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