It appears that the U.S. Senate now has the 60 votes needed to pass the Health Care bill and the vote is set for Monday morning at 1AM. The federal government knows that the bill is unconstitutional but they do not care. That is a problem. Texas and other states must work together to resolve this problem.
What can Texas do?
Last week, Texas State Representatives may have decided that the federal passage of the health care bill was imminent. I caught rumblings that some were starting to lay the foundation needed to make sure this abomination of a bill does not affect Texans. The two strategies that I have heard discussed:
The challenges to success in either case are significant but if socialized health care becomes the law over Texas then another large part of you and your children’s individual freedom and economic security will be stolen by politicians in Washington DC. So, you need to become involved and you need to get fellow Texas educated and involved, right now.
Challenge the bill in federal court
According to State Representative Berman the first step is to challenge the bill in a federal court. When Berman dropped out of the Governors race earlier this year, he endorsed Perry but only after Perry publicly promised to stand with other states and challenge unconstitutional bills, including this Health Care bill. Unless Perry breaks his promise, Texas will join other states in an upcoming legal challenge. How the federal court will rule on this remains to be seen, but I think that the chances of success in any federal court are random at best. I also wonder how long this challenge might drag out and how much damage can be done in the meantime.
Given the unknowns with this approach, I’d say we immediately get started on the next step too…
Nullify the Health Care Bill
Nullification is accomplished by passing a state law that declares that a specific federal law has no authority over a state or its citizens. Historically, nullification has been an important part of our countries balance of power and an effective tool against over ambitious federal leaders. A situation we find ourselves in today.
In order to nullify Health Care, the Texas legislature must pass a bill in the state house and senate then this must be signed by the governor. Unfortunately, the Texas legislature only meets every other year and does not meet again until 2011 unless a special session is called by Governor Perry. That is what needs to happen. Last week, State Representative Eissler took the first steps to make this happen and has called the Governor to request that a special session be called upon passage of the federal bill. I am sure that other representatives are doing the same or will be Monday morning if the vote does happen as scheduled. Reports are that Perry’s office is considering this and would call the special session if he knew that nullification would pass.
As far as the votes go, Texas has 76 Republicans and 74 Democrats in the state house. Assuming a vote along party lines a single Republican vote against the bill kills it. This is also complicated by the 12 or so RINOs in the Texas legislature. Regardless, it appears that there is a good chance that it would pass in the house but the Texas senate is another challenge. As a point of reference, in the 2009 legislative session, the state house passed the Texas version of the state sovereignty resolution, but this never made it to the Texas Senate so no vote occurred there.
If we can’t pass nullification now, we need to reshuffle the Texas house in 2010 and pass it in 2011.
Will Texas be the only state doing this?
Absolutely not, there are a number of states that are already actively working toward a state solution to this federal problem. Texas actually needs to play catch up with states like Tennessee, Montana, Oklahoma, Arizona, Florida and others. However, this defense against the federal power grab will be more effective if Texas becomes an active champion of state sovereignty.
What can Texans do?
Right now Texans need to make their voices known and educate others that states have significant steps that they can take to protect their citizens from unconstitutional laws. Unlike federal representatives, state representatives will often call you back or the office will personally attend to your comments.
More to come soon… the wheels of freedom at the state level are starting to turn…
Brian Roberts is a long-time volunteer with the Texas TAC and a regular contributor to the Tenth Amendment Center website.
If you enjoyed this post:
Click Here to Get the Free Tenth Amendment Center Newsletter,