View Full Version : Watchdog Group Sues To Reverse Illegally Passed Budget

03-21-2006, 02:08 PM
Watchdog group sues to reverse U.S spending-cut bill


Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:46 PM ET

WASHINGTON, March 21 (Reuters) - A congressional watchdog group filed a suit on Tuesday in federal court challenging the constitutionality of a $39 billion spending-cut law that passed each chamber of Congress in different forms.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the president signs into law only bills that are passed in identical form by both chambers.

"We have filed a lawsuit against the Bush administration for trying to sign into law something that is unconstitutional," said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook.

In early February, President George W. Bush signed the controversial budget bill into law, carrying out conservative Republicans' campaign to cut domestic programs including federal health care for the poor and elderly.

The legislation passed the Senate in December only after Vice President Dick Cheney, in his role as president of the Senate, cast a rare tie-breaking vote. Passage in the House of Representatives was extremely close too.

At issue is a change written into the legislation by a Senate clerk after it passed the Senate and before it reached the House. The change involved the length of Medicare payments for the rental of medical equipment such as oxygen tanks, wheelchairs and hospital beds.

The Senate bill set those payments at 13 months. But by the time it reached the House, the provision was rewritten to 36 months. The president signed the Senate's version into law.

Shortly after Bush signed the bill, the Senate passed legislation that Republican leaders hoped would clear up the confusion. The legislative fix stated that the version signed by Bush reflected "the intent of the Congress in enacting the bill into law." The House never took up that bill.

In its lawsuit, Public Citizen, which opposed many of the provisions of the spending-cut bill, asked the U.S. District Court in Washington to overturn the entire law.

If a court were to rule in Public Citizen's favor, it would be difficult for the Republican-controlled Congress to pass a new spending-cut bill so close to November congressional elections.

04-27-2006, 04:52 PM
Congressmen sue to block implementation of law that didn't pass House

http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Congressmen_sue_to_block_implementation_of_0427.ht ml

Published: Thursday April 27, 2006

Ten members of the U.S. House of Representatives will file a lawsuit tomorrow seeking to block implementation of a budget law as signed by President George W. Bush, RAW STORY has learned.

In February, the President signed a version of the "Deficit Reduction Act" that never passed the House. The draft signed by Bush omitted provisions from the version that passed the House that required the government pay for 36 months of durable medical equipment rentals for those who qualified. The version Bush signed allows just 13 months--a difference of 23 months rental and $2 billion in spending.

According to the Constitution of the United States, the same version of a bill must pass both houses of Congress before it can be signed by the President to become law.

The plaintiffs seeking to block the law are all ranking Democratic members of committees affected by the differences.

According to earlier published accounts, House Republican leadership notified the President that it had not passed the House of Representatives before the President went ahead with the Feb 8 signing.

"Anyone who has passed the sixth grade knows that before a bill can become a law, both Houses of Congress must approve it," blasted John Conyers (D-MI), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. "That the Bush Administration is now saying otherwise underscores the Constitutional crisis we are facing in this country."

Joining Conyers in the suit are: Rep. John Dingell, Ranking Member on the Energy and Commerce Committee; Rep. Charles B. Rangel, Ranking Member on the Ways and Means Committee; Rep. George Miller, Ranking Member on the Education and Workforce Committee; Rep. James L. Oberstar, Ranking Member on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; Rep. Barney Frank, Ranking Member on the Financial Services Committee; Rep. Collin C. Peterson, Ranking Member on the Agriculture Committee; Rep. Bennie Thompson, Ranking Member on the Homeland Security Committee; Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, Ranking Member on the Rules Committee; Rep. Fortney "Pete" Stark, Ranking Member on the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee; Rep. Sherrod Brown, Ranking Member on the Commerce Health Subcommittee. The Congressmen are represented by Dykema Gossett PLLC and Professor Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional expert at Duke Law School.