The New Unicameralism

The Hill reports that House Republicans appear to have forgotten how a bill becomes law. Specifically, on Friday the House narrowly passed the “Government Shutdown Prevention Act,” a bill that, among other things, purports to make a House-passed spending bill become law should the Senate fail to act. As Ed Morrissey notes, this is like “deem and pass” all over again — if not worse. If only it were an April Fool’s joke.

The Hill further reports that some House Republicans defend the bill as a purely symbolic measure to highlight the failure of the Senate to act on a spending measure. Maybe so. But if the aim was to make a symbolic point, there are more appropriate ways to do it than asserting that a measure passed by the House alone will become law. Among other things, the Republicans in the House have the votes to pass a sense of the body resolution or including findings or prefatory language in a bill that make their point.

UPDATE: Patterico makes a strong case that there is nothing unconstitutional about the Government Shutdown Prevention Act.  He argues that the bill may have used “unusual triggering language” but did not actually purport to bypass the Senate, and there is ample precedent for incorporation of other bills by reference.  He makes a good case, but I’ll stand by my final point, that there more effective ways for House Republicans to have made their point without using “unusual triggering language” of the sort that would prompt this sort of debate.

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