Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) pointed out some rather astounding language in the Senate health care bill during floor remarks tonight. First, he noted that there are a number of changes to Senate rules in the bill--and it's supposed to take a 2/3 vote to change the rules. And then he pointed out that the Reid bill declares on page 1020 that the Independent Medicare Advisory Board cannot be repealed by future Congresses:
there's one provision that i found particularly troubling and it's under section c, titled "limitations on changes to this subsection."
and i quote -- "it shall not be in order in the senate or the house of representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection."
this is not legislation. it's not law. this is a rule change. it's a pretty big deal. we will be passing a new law and at the same time creating a senate rule that makes it out of order to amend or even repeal the law.
i'm not even sure that it's constitutional, but if it is, it most certainly is a senate rule. i don't see why the majority party wouldn't put this in every bill. if you like your law, you most certainly would want it to have force for future senates.
i mean, we want to bind future congresses. this goes to the fundamental purpose of senate rules: to prevent a tyrannical majority from trampling the rights of the minority or of future co congresses.
Watch DeMint's full remarks here:
According to page 1001 of the Reid bill, the purpose of the Independent Medical Advisory Board is to "reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending." For any fearmongers out there tempted to call an unelected body that recommends Medicare cuts a "Death Panel," let me be clear. According to page 1004, IMAB proposals "shall not include any recommendation to ration health care"--you know, just like the bill says there's no funding for abortion.
Paging Sarah Palin: the death panel is unkillable.
Update: A friend suggests that Congress could kill IMAB by refusing to fund it. So much for zombie death panels, I guess, for now. Also, the Senate could change the rules to rule repealing or amending IMAB in order. But that would take a 2/3 majority. The Democrats aren't playing by the rules; they may be violating the Constitution.