How Did the Bailout Bill Get So Long?
The original bill was just three pages long, now it’s up to 450 – in a week. How did they read it all? Who wrote it? WTF does it condemn us to?
They don’t know, either.
Senate Folds Mental Health Parity Into Wall Street Bailout Bill
Seems appropriate. They should have done the mental health thing before the bailout vote, though.
Bailout bill: rum, racetracks and wool research
Nelson says bailout money could come from China
I’m all for drunken Chinese racing-sheep research.
(Note to bettinak, See? Borrow from the ChiComs. Probably better if we’d just printed it.)
By the way, when did the House become the chamber of serious deliberation and sober second thought?
And as I go to post this, I note this from James Taranto:
By a vote of 74-25, the U.S. Senate last night approved a bill aimed at “providing stability to and preventing disruption in the economy and financial system and protecting taxpayers”–popularly called the bailout.
Or, as it is formally known, the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007.
When the House rejected the same measure Monday, it was known as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The Providence Journal explains what happened:
In part, it has to do with the U.S. Constitution. Article 7, Section 1 says tax bills must originate in the House of Representatives.
In order to improve chances that the bailout bill, which the House defeated on Monday, would be approved this time around, the Senate tacked on several popular provisions, such as extending the life of business tax cuts that were set to expire and changing the alternative minimum tax, a much-loathed part of the tax code intended to ensure that the well-to-do pay their fair share but that in recent years has increasingly affected the middle class.
And an element of the tax package was legislation advanced by [Rhode Island’s Rep. Patrick] Kennedy that requires health-insurance companies to offer coverage of mental illness on a par with that of physical illness.
Once the Senate added those provisions to the rescue bill, it qualified as a tax bill, which the upper chamber is constitutionally prohibited from originating.
In order to get around the Constitution, the leaders turned to the time-honored stratagem of finding a live but dormant House bill–Kennedy’s mental-health parity bill–to use as a shell.
“They take out the entire text” of Kennedy’s old bill, “and then, by amendment, they substitute the other bill,” said Don Ritchie, an assistant Senate historian.
So the bailout ended up attached to a measure that extends benefits to people suffering from depression and is named after a lawmaker who died in a crash. Never let it be said that the U.S. Senate lacks a sense of humor.
It’s time for a revolution.