Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Professor Stephen L. Carter - No, Republicans Aren't Trying an End Run Around the Constitution

Now that we seem to be on the verge of a deal on a continuing resolution to fund government operations, the postmortems will be flying furiously. I recently heard a television commentator remark that the most outrageous thing about the entire battle was that the House Republicans were trying to do an end run around the Constitution by seeking to defund the Affordable Care Act, a statute already passed by Congress and signed into law. This strikes me as wrongheaded.
Let me be clear: I am not defending the actions of Republican members whose opposition to the Affordable Care Act has led to a willingness to shut down large portions of the government, and, for a while, implied a willingness to let the nation go into default. But it is important to keep this critique separate from the claim that there is something radical or even unusual in trying to zero out a program that Congress has already authorized. That happens all the time.