(Walt Nowosad) – I have been following the one way communications between the House and the Senate ever since the specter of government shutdown began and what amazes me is that no one has been able, or didn’t care to, vocalize what is really going on. That is that the Constitution is working here.
The Founders were leery of any part of government accumulating enough power to be the dominant force. That’s why they designed into our government, the concept of checks and balances, except perhaps in the case of the Supreme Court, but I’ll address that shortfall at a later date.
The bicameral legislature, ideally, in and of itself guarantees close scrutiny of the workings of the other chamber and helps assure that they “agree” with each other before penning a final bill.
But the Founders went one better in making the House the originator of revenue generating legislation and further gave them the sole power to fund legislation and gave them the power to prevent any attempt at tyranny. And that is what is going on now, but it seems the Senate leadership either didn’t pay attention during Civics 101 class or they either did not get it or chose to ignore it.
After 5.5 years of operating, unconstitutionally, without a budget, the House has collectively said enough is enough…no more continuing resolutions and I applaud them for doing so and further encourage them to continue.
Having said that one must realize that the Senate is technically operating under the provisions of the Constitution as well. The Founders gave each chamber the authority to set their own rules. This enforced the premise that each chamber is independent of the other and allows them to be participants in the ” checks and balances” built into the Constitution. However, there seems to be a bit of incongruity with either house exercising the power to not consider input from the other. Essentially, it prevents members of either the House or the Senate to properly represent their constituencies. Somehow these actions don’t seem to parallel the intent of those Founders.
In both houses, by rules set by that house, a single person in a leadership role has the power to allow or disallow a bill to be considered by that body. That flies in the face of the concept of representation in a Constitutional Republic. By not hearing a bill, the representative of the people, as well as the people they represent, are essentially disenfranchised. Could it be that the adage that “absolute power corrupts absolutely” is borne out in those rules?
That power exercised by the leader of each house as well as the frailties of men is best described by what James Madison said in Federalist 51: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”