Civics 101

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  • 11/25/2005

Thanksgiving Update: There are three branches of government. Thought this might serve as a useful reminder since some members of Congress think they can legislate powers reserved to the Executive. Specifically Senator Debbie Stabenow, Representative Anne Northup and the always-respectful Representative Rahm Emanuel. The issue is the non-issue of drug importation and the specific action is the Congress’ attempt to tell the US Trade Representative how to do his job. An amendment, sponsored by Ms. Stabenow and Ms. Northup and vociferously supported by Mr. Emanuel, would bar the U.S. Trade Representative from crafting trade agreements that block such unsafe importation. Recent agreements with Singapore, Australia and Morocco effectively prevented drug importation by requiring the consent of drug patent owners. Can you imagine that? The US standing up for IP rights? How devilish! If Ms. Stabenow, Ms. Northup or Mr. Emanuel had taken the time to consult either a highly paid DC constitutional attorney or a 5th grade civics book, they would have to agree with the White House’s comment that, “The executive branch shall construe as advisory the provisions of the Act that purport to direct or burden the Executive’s conduct of foreign relations.” On a day when most Americans are dealing with leftovers anyway, this is just another example of reheated stuffing. In any event, the amendment sunsets in 12 months, so go back to the couch and enjoy the rest of the long weekend.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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