By: Genevieve Wood
Hypocrisy is a given in Washington.
So much so that Senate Democrats must believe no one notices just how much of it they are guilty of in their attempts to prevent Congress from funding the Department of Homeland Security.
First, Democrats say they want to fund Homeland Security–yet they have filibustered any and all attempts by Republicans to even bring the bill up for debate.
Second, while numerous Democratic senators have made public statements saying President Obama was wrong to take executive action to change the country’s immigration laws without consent from Congress, none of these folks now appear willing to vote for or even discuss the Department of Homeland Security funding bill that would prevent Obama’s executive amnesty plans from taking place.
And then late last week, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) made the suggestion that the Senate do something he said just a few years ago was unconstitutional. He recommended the Senate create its own Homeland Security funding bill, pass it, and send it to the House. But back in 2007, Durbin was emphatic that the Constitution required all spending measures to begin in the House. During a debate with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) over appropriations, he said the following:
This is a Senate appropriations bill. As the senator from Texas knows, the Constitution requires that spending bills originate in the House. So the House would either object or ignore this bill or blue slip the bill in a way that would mean that whatever we would do here would not achieve the result asked for by the senator from Texas. (Durbin, Congressional Record,
On another occasion, but making the same “all spending bills must originate in the House” argument, another Democrat, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) put it this way:
Not only is this vote unnecessary, it is totally meaningless. It is a motion to proceed to a Senate appropriations bill. Let me repeat that it is a motion to proceed to a Senate appropriations bill. Everyone knows, even in elementary school, that under our Constitution revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives. So even if the Senate were to pass his bill, the House would refuse to act on it. This would be the case regardless of which party controls the House of Representatives. (Reid, 11/16/07)
To be clear, the Constitution says that revenue bills have to originate in the House. It is silent on spending or other bills. So, as Heritage’s senior fellow in Economic Policy David Burton says, “Durbin’s assertion that spending bills must originate in the House under the Constitution was just wrong.”
And that is perhaps the ultimate hypocrisy. What is “constitutional” or “unconstitutional” according to Senate Democrats seems to depend on the outcome they are aiming for. In this case they are calling something constitutional that they previously said was unconstitutional in order to allow something truly unconstitutional to happen. If you can follow that logic, you should apply for a job in Washington.