Senate Rejects Constitutional Challenge to Health Bill

Posted December 23, 2009 at 1:40pm

The Senate on Wednesday shot down a constitutional challenge to Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) health care reform bill, the first in a series of last-ditch GOP procedural moves designed to stall the legislation.

The constitutional point of order, authored by Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.), was defeated on a 60-39 vote, with Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) not voting. DeMint and Ensign argued the Reid bill would force citizens to purchase health care — which they said goes beyond the federal government’s authority.

The Senate was also set to dispose of an unfunded mandate point of order offered by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) along party lines. The chamber is also expected to defeat a constitutional point of order offered by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) challenging the creation of state health plans.