"On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." --Thomas Jefferson

My Congresswoman Louise Slaughter NY-D - New Rule

While Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, chairperson of the house rules committee, tosses out the idea of making a rule that would ignore the constitution on passing bills into law, I am still waiting for an answer to my question that I asked her this past summer on a local public radio show.

First things first, then I will get that question:


According to the Washington Examiner online, an article that Slaughter's Rochester N.Y. office told me is telling the story correctly, "Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version." --Of course this is referring to the Senate bill passing in the House of Representatives. (Click Here)

Office help in Slaughter's D.C. office cited Article 1, Section 5, Paragraph 2, as Slaughter's power to do such. That paragraph states, "Each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member." Clearly there is a misunderstanding of contextual meaning and of prepositional phrases. The rules that the house may determine are of its proceedings, proceedings that are to be within the confines of the law. The houses cannot re-write the way that bills are passed into law by calling such a new rule. A rule cannot override the law; nor can it make law.

Now, onto my question that has still yet to be constitutionally correctly answered:

What constitutional power gives congress the right to get involved in the people's private health care and personal welfare?

1 - On that radio interview, Louise Slaughter claimed that they have been doing it all along, so it must be legal. - This is not a constitutional answer. Congress has done a lot of things over the years that are not constitutional. The Constitution is to be used to prove or disprove Congressional actions, not the other way around.

2 - Slaughter's Rochester office help said that she took an oath to serve the people and getting uninsured people health insurance, is serving the people. - She took an oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution and to serve the people in her district as a representative in Washington D.C., not as a caretaker of our personal health care. Nor is her job to redistribute the wealth to give health care or anything else to those who have less money. Her job is very distinct and limited to lie within the powers that are clearly given to Congress in the U.S. Constitution.

3 - Slaughter's D.C. office help claimed that it is in the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution. - The Preamble states the reason that the U.S. Constitution was ordained and established. It is not an open-ended right to Congress to do whatever Congress deems would achieve those reasons.

The preamble does say, among other things, that the Constitution was established to "promote the general welfare." That is "promote," not "provide;" and it is general. The preamble also states that the Constitution was established to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." If anything the preamble proves that our founding fathers would never have meant a power, within the Constitution to be twisted as a means to infringe on our blessings and liberty.

4 - The same D.C. office help also said that it is the first power that is granted to Congress. - The first power, granted to Congress, gives Congress the power to collect taxes "to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States." It also states that such taxes "shall be uniform throughout the United States." We all know that the Senate bill has actually exempted one state's government from having to pay that which other states would be required to pay if the bill is passed into law. But let's talk about the part that Slaughter's office help claimed gives Congress the power to pass this health care bill into law.

Congress has the power to collect taxes "to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States." It appears that a simple lesson in language usage, would clear this misapplication of the Constitution, right up. The conjunction "and" is used in the prepositional phrase "for the common defense and general welfare" to connect "common defense" and "general welfare," just before the prepositional phrase, "of the United States." When a conjunction is used within a prepositional phrase, it equates the two objects of the preposition, which in this case would be "common defense" and "general welfare. This means that whatever is true for the "common defense" is also true for the "general welfare," as such pertains to the United States." 

The "common defense" and "general welfare" that are spoken of, are not as they pertain to the individual states or the individual people. If such were true, then there would be no need for the 10th amendment that states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." --If congress could make laws for the states and the people that reached out beyond the business of the United States, then there would be no such thing as anything being reserved for the states or the people.

Just as you could not call on the federal government to use its power to defend you if your spouse that lives in your home threatens to punch you in the nose, you also cannot call on the federal government to use its power to take care of your personal welfare in paying the medical bills that come about from that punch. Neither situation is within the jurisdiction of the United States federal government.

So just what is the business of the United States government: That business is listed within the rest of the powers that are given to Congress. The constitution can be found online:
Click Here

The list of powers end with giving Congress the power to "make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof." It has been suggested that some people in Congress might take "make all laws which shall be necessary and proper" out of the context and claim that any certain law that they want, is "necessary and proper." In order to apply such in this manner, one would have to dismiss the rest of the sentence that directly tells just what the laws would be necessary and proper "for." And one would also have to fully toss the rest of the Constitution out the window. --What would be the need for the rest of it?.

So my question still remains unanswered.

Debra J.M. Smith - 03-11-10

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 Debra J.M. Smith