Lo and behold! As we celebrated this Fourth of July amid the debt-ceiling fight, the netroots and progressive pundits suddenly discovered the Constitution’s relevance in fiscal matters. It doesn’t seem like that long ago — because it wasn’t that long ago — that they ridiculed the very idea of constitutional limits on Congress in economic policymaking, and even mocked the GOP’s public reading of the Constitution at the beginning of the current session.

Of the new House rule requiring a statement of the constitutional authority for bills, Ian Millhiser wrote at ThinkProgress that “the constitutional lunatics are now in charge of the GOP’s asylum.” It was completely unnecessary for Congress to cite constitutional justification for its actions, Millhiser proclaimed, because “Article I of the Constitution gives Congress broad authority” and “leaves budgeting decisions almost entirely to the judgment of Congress.”

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