Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia squeezes past a pillar at the back of the House Chamber and sits in an empty seat, his right hand on the left elbow of fellow Republican, Anh “Joseph” Cao, freshman from Louisiana. In a voice soft enough to be described as hushed, but with a tone and a pace that is noticeably anxious to the point of being pleading, he encourages Cao to demonstrate party loyalty and vote no on the “Affordable Health Care for America” (H.R. 3962), which as we now know was later passed by the House.
By the time of the founding, the definition of federalism was already so firmly settled and so deeply imbedded in the American understanding of good government that James Madison, in his defense of the proposed constitution, felt it necessary to assuage worries of some Americans that the state would surrender sovereignty under the new federal system. “Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act,” he wrote in The Federalist, No. 39.
The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives was apparently dumbfounded recently when a reporter asked about the constitutional authority for requiring people to buy health insurance, as mandated in the healthcare reform bills before Congress.
AARP, the 40-million-member senior-citizen lobbying group, and the American Medical Association, representing 250,000 physicians, on November 5 threw their support behind the healthcare reform bill being proposed by House Democrats.