Nine words taken from Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution are causing quite a stir among journalists and pundits today. The “controversial” clause reads in relevant part:
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings….
Incoming Tea Party-elected officials continue to vow to target deficit spending. Fox News writes, “Republicans elected to Congress with the help of Tea Party support pledged Sunday to devote themselves to balancing the budget over all else when they start their new jobs on Wednesday.”
According to the federal government’s 2010 financial statements, released in late December, the 2010 deficit was $1.29 trillion, a slight decrease from the 2009 deficit of $1.42 trillion. Despite this minor improvement, the long-term debt when all obligations are taken into account, including such major unfunded liabilities as Social Security and Medicare, is an astounding $64 trillion — and that may be understating things by about $12.3 trillion, says John Williams of ShadowStats.com (as reported by Douglas French on the Ludwig von Mises Institute blog).
When the House of Representatives announced new rules for the Congress that convenes on Wednesday, the mainstream media immediately called them “strict” and even “unprecedented.” The first new rule to take effect will be the reading of the Constitution of the United States and its 27 amendments on the floor of the chamber.