Deficit Reduction Act Again Challenged by Another Lawsuit

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Following other lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, S. 1932, Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-MI, has brought forth his own lawsuit to declare the legislation unconstitutional and not law. Rep. George Miller, D-CA, and 10 other members of Congress joined Conyers in the lawsuit that was filed April 28.

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And they were in a rush because this was a very, very bad bill. They wanted to spend as little time as possible having to explain their backwards priorities -- like cutting $12 billion from financial aid programs for college students -- to their constituents.

Following other lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, S. 1932, Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-MI, has brought forth his own lawsuit to declare the legislation unconstitutional and not law. Rep. George Miller, D-CA, and 10 other members of Congress joined Conyers in the lawsuit that was filed April 28.

The filing of Conyers’ lawsuit follows, among others, Mobile, AL, elder law attorney Jim Zeigler’s suit filed Feb.13 (Civil Action: 2006-80), and the filing March 21 by Washington-based Public Citizen (Case No. 06-00523), a nonprofit consumer advocacy group. Both Zeigler and Public Citizen filed suit on the same grounds as did Conyers.

Directly following the Feb. 8 signing of the Deficit Reduction Act into law by President Bush, Democrats have disputed the constitutionality of the bill. Democrats said the House and Senate failed to sign the same version of the legislation. The version passed by the House included 36 months of funding for durable medical equipment, and the Senate passed a version that included funding for 13 months. Democrats are calling foul as identical versions of a bill must be signed before the president can sign a bill into law.

Conyers, House Judiciary Committee ranking member, in an April 27 press statement from his office said, “Once again the Administration is playing fast and loose with the Constitution. Anyone who has passed the sixth grade knows that before a bill can become a law, both Houses of Congress must approve it. That the Bush Administration is now saying otherwise underscores the Constitutional crisis we are facing in this country. Over 200 years of legal precedent dictate that such discrepancies can be handled through simply refiling the paperwork, or re-voting the whole bill. Because the bill cuts billions of dollars to the Nation’s most needy, the Republican leadership prevented a re-vote at all costs.”

The lawsuit, case No. 2:06-CV-11972, was filed in the Eastern District Court of Michigan. Democratic aides said that those named in the suit include President Bush, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and others behind the Deficit Reduction Act’s required budget cuts.

Conyers’ press release included quotes from some of the other Congress members in the lawsuit, including Miller. “Republican leaders were in such a rush to ram this bill through Congress and get the President to sign it that they violated the Constitution in the process,” said Miller, ranking member, House Committee on Education and the Workforce. “And they were in a rush because this was a very, very bad bill. They wanted to spend as little time as possible having to explain their backwards priorities -- like cutting $12 billion from financial aid programs for college students -- to their constituents.”

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