Cuccinelli Doesn't Understand Vote Maneuver He's Challenging
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 01:18:19 PM EDT
Earlier today on MSNBC, Virginia's ultra conservative Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (don't say we didn't warn you about him a long time ago) explained why he believes the self-executing rule by which the House intends to pass the healthcare reform legislation already approved by the Senate at the same time as it passes a reconciliation bill fixing the Senate legislation is unconstitutional. I have already written about how this argument is more or less bunk. But it's worth adding that listening to Cuccinneli speak, it's not clear that he understands at all what a self-executing rule entails. Here's what he had to say:
They can do a number of procedural things to vote on it in ways that might be different than usual. But ultimately the record has to reflect that the Members of the House are voting on the same language -- even if they vote on something else at the same time, perhaps (that's an angle that we hear batted around) -- as the Senate bill.
What Cuccinelli highlights as a constitutionally sound mechanism of voting is in effect exactly what the House intends to do -- hold a majority vote on both the Senate bill as well as fixes to the Senate bill at the same time. As leading Congressional scholar Thomas Mann recently put it, such a rule would "make clear that the vote on the reconciliation package is in effect also a vote on the underlying Senate bill."
So if Cuccinelli intends to file suit, he might want to brush up on the legislative rule he's claiming to be improper.