The U.S. Supreme Court declined to revive an attempt by Public Citizen to undo the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which cut about $11 billion from projected Medicare and Medicaid spending.
The watchdog group filed a lawsuit in March 2006 arguing the law was unconstitutional because President Bush signed a Senate-passed version that differed substantially from the legislation approved by the House of Representatives.
Public Citizens reasoning was rejected by a U.S. District Court judge in Washington and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which both said it was sufficient that the leadership in both bodies signed the same version of the bill signed by the president.
The Supreme Court took a pass on the case Monday without comment. U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and several Democratic House colleagues attempted a similar challenge in U.S. District Court in Detroit, but the judge ruled they had no standing and tossed the case.
The controversial bill, which outlined $40 billion in federal belt-tightening, passed 51-50 in the Senate with Vice President Dick Cheney casting the tiebreaking vote. Public Citizen lawyer Allison Zieve said the organizations challenge was motivated not by the spending cuts but by the flawed process, which has been attributed to a clerks error. To us, the rules matter, Zieve said.-- by Gregg Blesch