I must differ with Walt Nowasad’s letter, “Separation of powers at work” of Oct. 11.
Shutting down the government ranks amongst the highest of the most shameful episodes in history involving our government.
Mr. Nowasad wrote, “…the founders … gave them [the House of Representative] the sole power to fund legislation.” and “…the House of Representatives is acting fully within its power under the Constitution to either fund or not fund any legislation.”
Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution 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 simply prohibits the senate from originating bills for raising revenue but the section does require that such a bill must pass both houses with the Senate able to amend, that is change, the bill. If the president vetoes the bill then it must pass both houses by a two-thirds majority vote before it becomes law. The House of Representatives does not have the sole power to fund or not fund legislation.
Our founding fathers fully intended for all legislation to be subject to full governmental financial review through the principle of checks and balances. Otherwise they could have simply left the financing of bills to be carte blanche when statutes are initially passed.
The Democratically controlled Senate and the Democratic President are refusing to negotiate any matter concerning revenue because of the apparent single issue of Obama health care. They seem to erroneously feel as though the health care legislation was passed and is therefore no longer subject to any further review or provisions of the Constitution.
Paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson, “In every question of meaning in the Constitution instead of trying to squeeze out a fraudulent meaning from the text or inventing a meaning, let us conform to what was intended when it was passed.”
With the senate and the president having approval authority over all revenue bills, it would be futile for the House to originate anything without first consulting, negotiating, with them.
It is time for both parties to have a reality check. A revenue bill must eventually be passed by both houses. The health care legislation must be considered by both houses. The revenue bill will not pass with health care completely unfunded nor will it pass with full funding as it was originally passed. By requiring compromise the Constitution was designed to prevent any faction from having total control. Neither party will get everything they want. Contrary to Mr. Nowasad’s letter, until the Democrats begin negotiating and the Republicans respond in good faith our Constitution is not working.
The specter of tyrannical attitudes has infiltrated our government and is trying to force their control in direct contradiction to our governing documents.