‘Continuing Resolutions’ in Larger Global and Historical Context
October 2, 2013
Mark Steyn has some interesting thoughts on recent parliamentary maneuverings in Congress.
Andrew C. McCarthy, after discussing the relevant history forcefully and at length, concludes,
The American people do not want Obamacare, and the representatives closest to them have voted not to spend the people’s money on it. According to the Constitution, that should be the end of the matter.
Matthew J. Franck argues (more briefly) that “This is a wholly new constitutional theory; I have certainly never encountered it.”
(For whatever it’s worth, McCarthy’s credentials include his having served as a prominent federal prosecutor and as a law professor. It’s not clear to me what Franck’s are. He does claim to have taught courses on “the Congress” “numerous times”. National Review Online, unfortunately, seems to have his bio mixed up with that of a Mark Finkelstein—oops.)
Mark Steyn brings his characteristic big-picture perspective. On the larger Anglosphere parliamentary tradition:
As I say, I am no U.S. Constitutional scholar. But, had the British or Canadian House of Commons, the Australian or Fijian House of Representatives, the Indian Lok Sabha, the Dáil Éireann, the Bahamian or Bermudan House of Assembly, etc, etc, etc, voted as the U.S. House of Representatives did, that would indeed be the end of the matter.
(Read the whole thing: “A Privilege of the Commons”)
Nowadays however our bipartisan ruling class limits the Congress’ opportunity to approve, disapprove, or modify what the government does, to voting on “Continuing Appropriations Resolutions” — single, all-inclusive bills crafted behind closed doors. Then it cynically asks the people’s representatives: “will you agree to laws no one has read, to programs on the continuation of which you have not voted, and to regulations that haven’t been written yet, or will you shut down the government?” This turns democracy into a choice between tyranny and anarchy.
(Read the whole thing: “The Resolutionary War”)