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House Democrats launch legal challenge to budget bill signed with clerical error

[JURIST] A group of 11 Democrats from the US House of Representatives [official website] plan to file a lawsuit [press release] Friday against the Bush administration seeking to overturn the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 [PDF text; S 1932 bill summary] as unconstitutional because, due to a clerical error, the version of the act signed by President Bush was not passed by both houses of Congress. When Bush signed the legislation [press release; fact sheet] in February, he signed the version of the bill passed by the US Senate, which set the duration of Medicare payments for certain types of medical equipment at 13 months, the figure agreed on by House and Senate negotiators. The House version of the legislation contained a clerical error, setting the relevant time limit at 36 months, but the error was corrected when the bill was transmitted to the president for signature. The plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that the act is not law are requesting a temporary restraining order to block the act from being implemented.

A similar lawsuit [PDF complaint; JURIST report] was filed last month by consumer protection organization Public Citizen [advocacy website]. Public Citizen has asked the US District Court for the District of Columbia to declare the law unconstitutional under the Bicameral Clause [text]. AP has more.

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