Tea Party types love to talk about the Constitution. Evidently, the only thing they like more is evading its requirements.
George W. Bush showed the way. With his aggressive use of signing statements, he avoided that pesky “veto override” problem. (Recall the tactic: he would sign a bill he didn’t like, rather than vetoing it, but he’d issue a signing statement to the effect that he wouldn’t enforce the law if he didn’t feel like doing so. That “veto by another name” avoided an override vote by Congress. Mission–i.e., end run around the Constitution– accomplished!)
Today’s Congressional zealots are doing George one better. As Robert Reich recently pointed out,
The Constitution of the United States does not allow a majority of the House of Representatives to repeal the law of the land by de-funding it (and threatening to close the entire government, or default on the nation’s full faith and credit, if the Senate and the President don’t come around).
If that were permissible, no law on the books would be safe. A majority of the House could get rid of unemployment insurance, federal aid to education, Social Security, Medicare, or any other law they didn’t like merely by deciding not to fund them.
Like it or hate it, the Affordable Care Act was passed into law by affirmative votes of both Houses of Congress. It was signed (without the crossed fingers of a Signing Statement) by the President, who subsequently ran for re-election on a record that prominently included it and who handily won. Its constitutionality has been upheld by the Supreme Court. There are not nearly enough votes to repeal it using the proper process.
But none of that matters to the arrogant ideologues who want to circumvent the Constitution they claim to revere by failing to fund the law of the land.
The truth of the matter is, the only Constitutional provision they really care about is (their version of) the Second Amendment.