The Senate immigration bill has not yet been sent to the House we learned this evening, and the theory is that Harry Reid understands that the bill is unconstitutional. According to the Constitution, only the House can legally originate revenues bills. There is a procedure the House can use to kill the whole thing – so Reid is holding onto the bill. (Why isn’t this appropriate for ObamaCare as well?)
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) is working his fellow Congressmen on this. Why it wasn’t done immediately after the SCOTUS decision, I’ll never understand but – be still my heart – a “blue slip” procedure may be a possibility:
When such a revenue-raising bill comes out of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, currently Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), can use a procedure called a “blue slip resolution” to automatically kill it on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. Stockman has been promising to attempt to kill the Senate’s bill that way and, as such, Reid has refused to send it to the House, thereby protecting the bill from being “blue slipped.”
The term “blue slip,” Stockman’s office noted in a release, comes from the blue color of the paper on which a resolution is printed that returns a Senate bill back to the Senate in these situations.
Stockman is quoted saying “Even Harry Reid now admits the Senate’s amnesty is unconstitutional and cannot become law.”
Stockman’s office notes that Section 2102 of the bill “requires the payment of certain taxes and forgives the payment of other taxes as a condition of receiving amnesty and other benefits.” Source of all quotes Breitbart – much more here.
So what about the ObamaCare tax? The bill originated in the Senate, did not claim it was a tax, yet the Supreme Court said it was a tax:
Another factor in the analysis was the nature of the penalty: if you don’t want to buy health insurance, you pay a price. There’s nothing else, really, that will happen to you. You’re not going to be thrown in jail or otherwise punished (the Act bars the IRS from many of its bag of enforcement tricks, such as criminal prosecutions and levies). In that way, Chief Justice Roberts reasoned, choosing not to comply with the mandate subjects you to what amounts to a tax….
Justice Roberts went on to say that “if the mandate may reasonably be characterized as a tax, it must still comply with the Direct Tax Clause” (found at Article One of the United States Constitution, section 2, clause 3) which, he concludes, it does. Source: Forbes
More from Roberts:
He upholds the individual mandate—as a tax, not a penalty—as the law of the land. But then says it would not be “unlawful” for Americans to violate the law’s mandate that they “shall” buy health insurance–as long as they are willing to pay the “penalty” for not obeying the law.
“Congress’s decision to label this exaction a ‘penalty’ rather than a ‘tax’ is significant because the Affordable Care Act describes many other exactions it creates as ‘taxes,’” said Roberts.
Roberts thus concludes that because Congress calls the penalty for not complying with the individual mandate a “penalty” not a “tax,” the “penalty” therefore is not a “tax.”