Skip to comments.Sen. Landrieu Declines to Say Where the Constitution Authorizes Congress--
Posted on 12/11/2009 12:56:33 PM PST by yoe
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) told CNSNews.com she would leave it up to the constitutional lawyers to explain exactly where Congress gets the constitutional authority to force Americans to buy health insurance, the central mandate in both the Senate and House health care bills.
Landrieu, in her second term as a U.S. senator, responded to a question from CNSNews.com at a press conference about the effect health care reform would have on small businesses. Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) joined Landrieu at the press conference.
CNSNews.com asked Landrieu: You mentioned that there will be no employer mandate [in the Senate health care bill] but there is an individual mandate, and several members of Congress have said that an individual mandate is unconstitutional. What part of the Constitution do you think gives Congress the authority to mandate that individuals have to purchase health insurance?
Landrieu said: Well, were very lucky as members of the Senate to have constitutional lawyers on our staff, so Ill let them answer that.
But what I will say is that most certainly it is within Congress jurisdiction to come up with a way to have a health insurance funded with shared responsibility, is the way I like to, you know -- government has a responsibility, individuals have a responsibility and business has a responsibility, said Landrieu.
The health care bill that passed the House and the Senate bill (as currently written) both require that individuals purchase health insurance or face a penalty from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Landrieu defended the individual mandate in the Senate bill, saying that the burden of paying for health care reform should not fall too heavily on one group of people.
So, while some people, and I occasionally will use the word mandate for or against, but its really a shared responsibility, so that the burden of this doesnt fall too heavily on any one group, she said.
In the 233-year history of the United States, the federal government has never mandated that individual Americans purchase any good or service.
In 1994, when Congress was considering President Clintons proposal for a national health care plan, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said that for federal government to order Americans to buy health insurance would be unprecedented, adding that the government had never required Americans to purchase anything. A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action, CBO found.
The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States," said the CBO report.
"An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government."
Sen. Orrin Hatch, the former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, offered an amendment to the health care bill while it was under consideration in the Senate Finance Committee that would have expedited judicial review of the provision that mandates individuals top buy health insurance. Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D.-Mont.) ruled that the amendment was not the proper jurisdiction of the committee and did not allow a direct vote on it. Hatch later told CNSNews.com that he believes the provision is unconstitutional.
Hatch told CNSNews.com that if the claim that the federal government has the constitutional authority to force American to buy health insurance were allowed to stand, "then there is literally nothing the federal government cant force us to do."
CNSNews.com has asked a number of senators to point out specifically where the Constitution authorizes Congress to force Americans to buy health insurance.
For example, Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) previously told CNSNews.com he is not aware of the Constitution giving Congress the authority to make individuals purchase health insurance.
On the other hand, Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) told CNSNews.com that Congress has the authority to force individual American to buy health insurance becuse the Constitutions says to provided for the "health, welfare and the defense of the country."
Well, thats under certainly the laws of the -- protect the health, welfare of the country," said Burris. "Thats under the Constitution. Were not even dealing with any constitutionality here. Should we move in that direction? What does the Constitution say? To provide for the health, welfare and the defense of the country.
The word "health" appears no where in the Constitution. Burris communications director later told CNSNews.com he was referring to the general Welfare clause in the Constitution.
However, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the general welfare clause should not apply to health insurance.
Well, keep in mind the general welfare clause hasnt been used for years, except through the Commerce Clause --Article I, Section 8, said Hatch. And, frankly, the Commerce Clause affects, quote, activities, unquote. And, you know, the government telling you, you have to buy health insurance -- mandating that you have to buy health insurance -- is not an activity. Thats telling you, you got to do something you dont want to do.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were dismissive when asked where the Constitution authorized Congress to force individuals to buy health insurance.
I mean, theres no question theres authority. Nobody questions that," said Leahy.
"Are you serious? Are you serious?" said Pelosi.
Is there any way to fire these elitist crooks before the election? Can we sue them for incompetence or abuse of liberty and freedoms?
Sen Hatch believes the commerce clause entitles the Congress to force the NCAA to a playoff in D1 football.
Let me guess- if I challenege the constitutionality in court, they will tell me I have “no legal standing” to bring the case.
In other words- “just shut up and pay for it, boy.”
It’s obvious that the $300 million bought more than a vote to open debate from Landrieu. She was bought body and soul.
Sadly I think the 2010 elections are our only resort other than open rebellion to the tyrannical government that seeks to enslave us.
If nothing changes after 2010 then I fear all bets are off.
It should be a requirement that EVERY piece of legislation must explicitly state what from what portion of the Constitution the legislation derives.
Our 'leaders' are weasels and defer their responsibilities to a bunch of lawyers... The biggest government program in history - and the esteemed Senator says, 'not my job to understand whether the United States Constitution allows it'...
Sen. Mary Landrieu is a WHORE! Period Amen!
I’m not a lawyer but I can tell her, NOWHERE DOES IT ALLOW FOR THAT.
Symptomatic of someone who is not a patriot.
A patriot in my mind is one who places the country above oneself.
In that mode, a patriot would ALWAYS defer to the powers granted to the government by the Constitution, and not intrude upon those reserved to the states and citizens.
Cowards like Landrieu reveal their personal rather patriotic drives very easily when they answer in this manner.
By the way, I read somewhere that the qualifications to become a US Senator is simply that you offer an opinion. You do not have to display leadership or even be right. You can be wrong or outvoted 100% of the time and still be a US Senator.
That’s revealing in itself.
He’s way off, but considering that a lot of them think that the Constitution allows the Govt. to take over the auto industry, banks, healthcare, I suppose they think, “Why not football”?
“It should be a requirement that EVERY piece of legislation must explicitly state what from what portion of the Constitution the legislation derives.”
And that should always be debated on the floor along with the reasons that legislation is felt needed.
Both should be required.
My dog is smarter than this bayou bitch....
You can be wrong and overturned over fifty percent of the time and become a Supreme Court Justice, too.
The U.S. is in its death throes and I am regretting having children.
Then why is she in office? She should know this.
I tell you what was amusing was watching the optimism on this website that a super majority would do anything except vote party lines. Sure, there will be some buying of votes, but realistically this was destined to pass the second the polls closed after the last election.
The best you can hope for is a Supreme Court with some guts, but I haven’t seen a gutsy ruling in my lifetime declaring such a major issue as unconstitutional.
Game over, insert token. Enjoy your socialized medicine. As you’ve seen with all major entitlement programs, there is no repealing them.
I’d bet a year’s salary that this fool has never read the Constitution.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but...
aren’t all congresscritters sworn in to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States?
Therefore, isn’t it a DUTY to determine whether what they are doing IS Constitutional?
Man, this has to win a prize or something for the most meaningless gibberish ever uttered by a so-called U.S. Senator. "It's like, you know, uh, you know..." Landrieu sounds more like a Valley Girl than a Senator.
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