How a bill becomes a law: another cherished civics myth destroyed
February 20, 2013 9 Comments
This debate over who is to ‘blame’ for ‘sequestration’, the President or Congress, is more than a little weird. I know I’m getting to be a broken-record but there must be something seriously wrong with what I was taught in 5th Grade Civics because, in my recollection, How A Bill Becomes A Law was always pretty clear-cut. The standard procedure:
- Congress passes it.
- The President signs it.
That means they’re both ‘to blame’. It also means neither can ‘blame’ the other. If, in particular, the President didn’t want this law to be in force, causing this supposedly-horrible ’sequestration’ thing to happen, he needn’t have signed it back then, and (absent a veto-proof Congressional majority) it wouldn’t be happening now. Similarly, the law wouldn’t be in place had not Congress drafted and then passed it. Magic!
Or, what am I missing? Does a President now sometimes ‘have to’ sign terrible laws that he thinks totally suck? Are there cases where he signs a law but his signing of that law ‘doesn’t count’ for the purpose of allocating responsibility for how the law got passed? Conversely, does the President draft laws himself and force Congress to pass them? When the President ‘proposes’ some law does that bind Congress?
Is the standard How A Bill Becomes A Law catechism another one of those things (like individual rights, checks & balances, property rights, and the social contract) that has been demolished/disproven by realist postmodern ‘who/whom’ sophisticates to the point that Only Naive
UnOvereducated People Like Myself Still Believe In Them? It would appear so.