The Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner of Ohio tried to make an end run around the President and his proposal for dealing with the so called fiscal cliff by asking the House to vote on what Boehner called his Plan B. Plan B was basically a bill that would have allowed taxes to go up for taxpayers making over $1 million, and defer discussion of other maters until later. Boehners plan was supposed to embarrass the Democrats, since many of them had proposed such a plan earlier in the year. The problem was that he could not muster enough votes in his own Republican caucus. So Boehner walked away, but before he walked away, he announced in a pique:
“Now it is up to the president to work with Senator (Harry) Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff.”
Thats nice, but theres only one problem with Boehners idea, this little gem:
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.
Thats from the United States Constitution, Article I, Section 7, Clause 1.
It never ceases to amaze me that conservatives claim deep (deep, deep, deep) deference to the Constitution. Many of them carry around pocket versions that they like to wave around to make a point. But when things dont go there way, they act like theyve never heard of the Constitution.
Whether Speaker Boehner wants to deal with it or not is simply irrelevant. Its not the dastardly Democrats, or that slippery Obama, or the liberal press corps that is making him deal with the deficit and the budget. Its the Constitution.
So Boehner can do one of two things. The first is to do his duty under the Constitution, and work out a revenue bill. Or the second is to walk away, but the coda to that option is that he has to stop lecturing us about his deference to, or supposed knowledge of, the Constitution. He simply cant have it both ways.