The Slaughterhouse rule, also called the Self-Executing rule, as I understand it, will permit the House of Representatives to vote on the package of amendments and corrections to the Senate bill, and if this package passes, then “deem” as passed A.) the Senate bill and/or B.) the amended and corrected Senate bill, without any actual vote on either.
*“self-executing rule,” also known as a “hereby rule.” Under this amazing procedural ruse, the House would then vote only once on the reconciliation corrections, but not on the underlying Senate bill. If those reconciliation corrections pass, the self-executing rule would say that the Senate bill is presumptively approved by the House—even without a formal up-or-down vote on the actual words of the Senate bill.
Now, the question is whether this is constitutional. There are presently two provisions being relied upon to condemn this procedure as constitutionally anemic.
Article I, Section 5: Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either House on any question shall, at the desire of one fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.
Article I, Section 7: Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a law.* But in all such cases *the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each House respectively.
Now, from my understanding and reading of the available news sources reporting on this, there will be language in effect stating should the proposed amendments and corrections package pass, then the Senate bill/and or amended Senate bill will also be passed and this language will be inserted into the amendments and corrections package to the Senate bill.
The other scenario is there will be a House of Reps vote on the use of the self-executing rule, with the understanding the self-executing rule will be used in regards to the proposed amendments and corrections to the Senate bill. In other words, it will be understood the self-executing rule, if passed, will be used to assert the passage of the amendments and corrections package to the Senate bill will mean or deem as passed the amended bill and/or the underlying Senate bill.
There are some plausible arguments asserting this is unconstitutional and I hope to inspire a dialogue as to the veracity of these arguments and the constitutionality of this procedure.
The argument(s) claiming this procedure is unconstitutional are:
- Article I, Section 7 above asserts bills are to be voted on and the recording of “yeas and nays” for or against the bill are to be recorded, along with the names of those voting on the bill.
- The House has not passed the same bill as the Senate, as required by Article I, Section 7. In other words, no single bill, in the same form, has passed both houses.
Is this Slaughterhouse rule, known also as the self-executing rule, constitutional?