Sen. Mike Johanns’ Office
Thursday, December 24, 2009

WASHINGTON –Senator Mike Johanns today voted in favor of a Point of Order declaring that the Senate health care reform bill is unconstitutional, and that Congress lacks the authority to pass the bill into law. The Constitutional Point of Order was introduced by Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) in response to concerns that certain provisions exceed the federal government’s constitutional powers. The Point of Order failed, 39-60.

During the health care debate, Sen. Johanns filed an amendment, which was blocked from consideration on the Senate floor, which would have expedited the process of reviewing the constitutionality of the bill’s individual health insurance mandate.”Congress’ constitutional power is not unlimited,” Johanns said.

“I spent a lot of time throughout this debate with my fellow Nebraskans who were very concerned about whether Congress even has the legal authority to force individuals to purchase coverage. This is a very serious question and the American people deserve an answer. That’s why I filed an amendment that would have expedited constitutional review of the individual mandate. This is not a matter of political posturing, but a matter of checks and balances.”

Fast Facts:

* The Constitutional Point of Order stems from the “commerce clause” in the Constitution (Art. 1, Sec. 8, Clause 3), which authorizes Congress to “regulate Commerce…among the several States.”

* The question of constitutionality arises from whether the individual mandate included in the Senate bill–which penalizes individuals for not having health insurance–falls outside this jurisdiction by regulating economic inactivity and forcing individuals into commercial activity.