Let's take a closer look at some of the Social Security portions of the grand deal which is likely to be approved by Congress in the next few days. I'll start out with the fraud provision that I said earlier looked to me as if it makes it a crime to submit medical evidence in support of a disability claim. I didn't mean to suggest that was going to happen. I know this isn't the intent. This looks like a drafting error to me. Here's the statute involved as it will read after this is enacted, with the new portion bolded:
42 U.S.C. §1011 (a) In general Whoever—
(3) having knowledge of the occurrence of any event affecting—(B) the initial or continued right to the benefits of any other individual in whose behalf he or she has applied for or is receiving the benefit,conceals or fails to disclose the event with an intent fraudulently to secure the benefit either in a greater amount or quantity than is due or when no such benefit is authorized; or
(4) having made application to receive any such benefit for the use and benefit of another and having received it, knowingly and willfully converts the benefit or any part thereof to a use other than for the use and benefit of the other individual, shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both; or
(5) conspires to commit any offense described in any of paragraphs (1) through (3) except that in the case of a person who receives a fee or other income for services performed in connection with any determination with respect to benefits under this title (including a claimant representative, translator, or current or former employee of the Social Security Administration), or who is a physician or other health care provider who submits, or causes the submission of, medical or other evidence in connection with any such determination, such person shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof shall be fined under title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned for not more than ten years, or both.’’.
This doesn't make sense. The new language seems to make it illegal to submit evidence without specifying that it's only illegal to knowingly submit false or misleading evidence which was almost certainly the intent. I don't think anyone is going to be prosecuted under this even if they're guilty as sin because the language is so confusing.
The right wing extremists in the Freedom Caucus have been demanding "regular order" in the House of Representatives, meaning that they want bills to progress from Subcommittee to Committee to the House floor with members having the opportunity to carefully study the bills and offer amendments. I agree with them on this if nothing else. Regular order helps prevent this sort of problem. Members of Congress, their staffs or outside individuals have a chance to study a bill and point out problems, including drafting errors. The problems can be sorted out before a bill becomes law. However, I've seen plenty of problems like this one in legislation signed by the President even when there is "regular order." Such problems are typically cleaned up with technical corrections acts but the Congressional sclerosis has gotten so bad that it's now difficult to even pass technical corrections acts.