Today, the House will take up H.R. 1255, the Republicans’ measure “to prevent the shutdown of the government.” The bill states that if the Senate has not passed a budget bill for fiscal 2011 by April 6, “the provisions of H.R. 1,” the GOP’s slash-and-burn budget bill passed in February, “are hereby enacted into law.”
The bill is a blatant message ploy. If enacted, the GOP would get every single budget cut they want without negotiation. But — as with all bills — it would still have to pass the Senate and be signed by the president to be enacted. Outraged over the ridiculousness of such a measure, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) took to the floor yesterday to congratulate the GOP on its well-timed joke:
DEFAZIO: Both houses, the House and the Senate, must pass a bill, identical, and the president must sign it before it to become a law. Now, wait! The Republicans have a bill — we’re going to take it up tomorrow — H.R. 1255 that deems that a bill that has only passed the House of Representatives, H.R. 1, has become law. Now what happened to the fact that we were going to have to prove the constitutionality of every bill that came before the House. This blatantly violates the Constitution. Now I was totally outraged — outraged! — when I saw this but then I realized, what’s tomorrow? April Fools Day. Hey guys, you got me! Congratulations. Happy April Fools Day. What are we really going to be doing tomorrow?
All joking aside, the bill “is such an unbelievable, absurd waste of time,” DeFazio told ThinkProgress. “It’s a transparent ruse” for the GOP to “throw red meat to the Tea Party” while “negotiating behind their back.” “If I were one of the Tea Party people telling the Republicans to get steel in their spines, I’d be offeded by this,” he said. Indeed, the Tea Party has been mercilessly attacking House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for negotiating a budget deal instead of gouging the budget with even more drastic cuts. A conflict, DeFazio said, that is exemplified by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) split from Boehner on negotiations.
DeFazio also questioned how the House GOP could think no one would note the simple fact that the House cannot enact any law without going through the full legislative process: “It’s sort of like high school physics.” One union agreed and suggested Cantor watch “Schoolhouse Rock” for clarification. “This is just the most bizarre bill, it’s beyond words,” he said. “I thank the Gods for the irony that they’re doing it on April Fools Day.”