View Full Version : Steny Hoyer's Unconstitutional Bailout

10-15-2008, 06:13 PM
Asked at the end of the Constitutional Convention, what is it that we now have, Benjamin Franklin responded "A Republic, if you can keep it." He meant that citizens would need to understand the Constitution well enough to prevent its subversion. Hank Paulson and George Bush's wall street bailout plan spearheaded in the House of Representatives by our 14th term representative Steny Hoyer is emblematic of such subversion.

The "Paulson Plan" was properly introduced in the House of Representatives. The "Origination Clause" Article I, section 7 of the U.S. Constitution mandates "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." The Founders knew that the Senate could be persuaded to follow the plans of rich land owners and members of the political class to the detriment of the general welfare, and armed the House of Representatives with the "Power over the Purse" to curb these very injustices. Speaking of the Origination Clause, James Madison stated that "This power over the purse, may in fact be regarded as the most compleat and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure." Federalist No. 58.

The Paulson Plan had a problem though--Americans overwhelmingly opposed it. Predictably in the face of extreme public outrage the House of Representatives, whose members are always up for re-election, rejected the Paulson Plan in keeping with the Origination Clause and the Power Over the Purse. Frustrated and indignant, the Senate, knowing it had no power to directly originate the Paulson Plan illicitly tacked it onto a measure previously passed by the House under the guise of an "amendment." While the Senate has a right to amend revenue bills passed by the House, it was disingenuous to consider the Paulson Plan an "amendment" to prior uncontroversial legislation as the House had flat-out rejected the proposal the first time around. The Paulson Plan really originated in the Senate as the House was unwilling to use its Power of the Purse to bail out wall street.

In our system of self-government, the only way people can participate in stemming Constitutional abuses is to punish, on election day, incumbents who have worked to undermine the Constitution. While both Maryland Senators who voted for the Paulson Plan are shielded from public outrage by their six-year term, our representatives are all up for reelection. Steny Hoyer not only spearheaded the original bailout in the House, he celebrated the Senate's unconstitutional origination of the Paulson Plan and eagerly worked for its passage upon return to the House. In November, the people of the Maryland 5th Congressional district have a unique opportunity to "Keep the Republic" and voice their opposition to the seven hundred billion dollar abuse perpetrated by our own out-of-touch 14th term incumbent which clearly favored his top contributor--a large bank--to the detriment of ordinary people.

Jeff B. Vockrodt
University Park, MD


Most people respond that Obama, Biden and McCain also voted for the bailout. I have actually heard a lot of people say they were surprised this is a Constitutional problem since the people in Congress must know what they are doing. . . . I am getting really scared.