The Fiscal Cliff and Constitutionality

GorT received some email traffic from some relatives asking about the origin of the Taxpayer Relief Act (the bill saving us, insert laughing here, from the “fiscal cliff”) and referenced the same section of the Constitution that the Burgher of Bong wrote in this post to the Czar:

Article I Sec. 7 of the U.S. Constitution:
All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

I’m curious if people are trying to argue that the Taxpayer Relief Act is unconstitutional because they think it originated in the Senate.  Simply put, no, it didn’t.  We can walk through it:

In the middle of last summer (2012), the Republicans in the House looked to address the fiscal issues and avoid what we ended up going through.  On July 24th 2012, a bill (H.R. 8) was introduced to extend certain tax relief provisions.  The executive summary read:

H.R. 8 would provide a one year extension of all current individual tax rates, as well as the 15 percent top rate on capital gains and dividends. The proposal would also extend for one year the estate tax rates at their current levels, the $1,000 child tax credit, marriage penalty relief and certain educational tax credits. The bill would also provide higher small business expensing limits for one year and would repeal the personal exemption phase-out and the “Pease” limitations in 2013. Finally, the bill would provide a two-year AMT patch which would be adjusted for inflation. Coupled with H.R. 6169, H.R. 8 will ensure that individual tax rates will not increase while comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform is crafter under expedited procedures in 2013.

On August 1st 2012, the House passed H.R. 8 with a vote of 256 to 171.  The bill was received in the Senate on September 10th 2012 and there it sat.  As the year moved forward and the negotiations between the Republicans and Democrats stalled, Speaker Boehner kicked the issue over to the Senate.  Many took this as him punting, but one should realize that the House already took action (H.R. 8) and the “deal” hinged on the Senate Democrats to take some action.

On January 1st 2013, H.R. 8 was brought before the Senate and amended by Senator Reid with SA 3448 and SA 3450.  The bill (with the first amendment) passed the Senate 89-3 and the second amendment was agreed to with Unanimous Consent.  It was sent back to the House for the resolution and approval which it achieved on the 1st with a final vote of 257 to 167 and “signed” by the President on January 2nd.

So there is no concern over the origination of this legislation unlike the concern we should have over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act origin.  In that case, Senator Reid took H.R. 3590 which was originally the “Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009” sponsored by Charlie Wrangle (D-NY), gutted the bill and replaced the content with what was the original version of the PP-ACA.  This is clearly a subversion of the legislative process that Congress uses and the “revenue bill” as Justice Roberts asserted originated in the Senate as the H.R. bill was non-existent in the resulting legislation.

About GorT

GorT is an eight-foot-tall robot from the 51ˢᵗ Century who routinely time-travels to steal expensive technology from the future and return it to the past for retroinvention. The profits from this pay all the Gormogons’ bills, including subsidizing this website. Some of the products he has introduced from the future include oven mitts, the Guinness widget, Oxy-Clean, and Dr. Pepper. Due to his immense cybernetic brain, GorT is able to produce a post in 0.023 seconds and research it in even less time. Only ’Puter spends less time on research. GorT speaks entirely in zeros and ones, but occasionally throws in a ڭ to annoy the Volgi. He is a massive proponent of science, technology, and energy development, and enjoys nothing more than taking the Czar’s more interesting scientific theories, going into the past, publishing them as his own, and then returning to take credit for them. He is the only Gormogon who is capable of doing math. Possessed of incredible strength, he understands the awesome responsibility that follows and only uses it to hurt people.