House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has submitted her first two bills of the new Congress and she is taking seriously Republicans’ new requirement that all bills cite the appropriate constitutional authority that gives lawmakers the power to act.
For one of her bills, Democrats’ version of a stopgap spending bill, Mrs. Pelosi cites Article I, Section 9, clause 7, and Article I, Section 8, clause 1 spending powers to make the case that the Constitution gives the legislature “power of the purse.”
In the other bill, to grant legal status to two apparently illegal immigrants, Mrs. Pelosi cited Congress’s powers under Article I, Section 8, clause 4, which gives the legislature the power to set immigration rules. “The Supreme Court has long found that this provision of the Constitution grants Congress plenary power over immigration policy,” she said in her statement, pointing to 1954 and 1972 cases.
Mrs. Pelosi attracted attention in the last Congress when a reporter for CNSNews.com asked her what the constitutional authority was for the health care law’s individual mandate.
“Are you serious? Are you serious?” the then-speaker demanded of the questioner.
While Mrs. Pelosi went above and beyond in citing court cases for her two bills this year, some of her fellow Democrats are not putting the same effort into the exercise. At least four Democratic lawmakers have simply listed Article I, failing to meet the new rules’ requirement to cite specific authorities justifying congressional action.