I don't think anybody's going to say that we didn't vote for the bill. -- Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.)
Much chatter is being heard about Nancy Pelosi using trickery to "deem" the Senate version of Obamacare passed in the House, so the House would only have to vote on a measure with "fixes" that would be sent to the Senate.
First off, this was a procedure that Nancy Pelosi herself argued against in 2005 when Republicans used it to protect Republicans and Democrats alike from having to vote on a debt limit increase, showing Pelosi's innate hypocritical nature in choosing to this procedure, dubbed the Slaughter Soltuion, in the fight over Obamacare.
All that aside for a second though because I have a very serious question
for any and all House Democrats that believe this sleight-of-hand will protect them.
Do any of them truly believe the Senate Democrats will garner enough votes to actually pass the "fixes"?
House Democrats do not like the Senate's version of the Obamacare bill and Pelosi cannot even garner enough votes to get it passed without the "deeming" it passed trick, yet by deeming it passed, the Senate version is what would become law.
Then the House Democrats have to count on the Senate to actually pass all those changes to a version of Obamacare that took the Senate months and months to achieve in the first place, removing a number of the measures that the House is now praying the Senate will pass when they couldn't get those very same measures passed the first dozen or so times they tried.
Nancy Pelosi might think she is smart trying to bypass having vulnerable House Democrats actually having to "vote" for the Senate version of Obamacare, but she is also asking them to seriously believe that the Senate will pull their asses out of the fire afterwards.
Why would they? The Senate passed their version, cutting out everything they knew they could not pass and why on earth anyone thinks the Senate would be able to garner the votes needed for all the "fixes" is beyond me.
The reasoning here is that by "deeming" the Senate version passed, then these "fixes" can go to the Senate and by using another procedure called "reconciliation" the Senate will only need 51 votes to pass these fixes.
I submit the Senate does not even have 51 Democrats willing to vote those fixes into law.
Oh and as to fancy Nancy thinking that just because she did not force her vulnerable Democratic House members to actually vote on the senate version, people will not hold it against them?
Even members of her own party call that for the bull it is.
Undecided Democrats appeared unconcerned by the flap. Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), a retiring lawmaker who opposed the original House bill and is undecided on the new package, mocked Republican criticism of the process. Ultimately, he said, voters will hold lawmakers responsible for any changes in law.
"I don't think anybody's going to say that we didn't vote for the bill." he said.
Another bit of sobering poll news for 35 key House members in swing districts comes from WSJ: (I touched on this last night as well, here, but it bears repeating.)
The survey shows astonishing intensity and sharp opposition to reform, far more than national polls reflect. For 82% of those surveyed, the heath-care bill is either the top or one of the top three issues for deciding whom to support for Congress next November. (That number goes to 88% among independent women.) Sixty percent want Congress to start from scratch on a bipartisan health-care reform proposal or stop working on it this year. Majorities say the legislation will make them and their loved ones (53%), the economy (54%) and the U.S. health-care system (55%) worse off—quite the trifecta.
Seven in 10 would vote against a House member who votes for the Senate health-care bill with its special interest provisions. That includes 45% of self-identified Democrats, 72% of independents and 88% of Republicans. Three in four disagree that the federal government should mandate that everyone buy a government-approved insurance plan (64% strongly so), and 81% say any reform should focus first on reducing costs. Three quarters agree that Americans have the right to choose not to participate in any health-care system or plan without a penalty or fine.
That translates into specific concerns with the Senate legislation—and none of these objections would be addressed by the proposed fixes. Over 70%—indeed in several districts over 80%—of respondents, across party lines, said that the following information made them less supportive: the bill mandates that individuals purchase insurance or face penalties; it cuts Medicare Advantage; it will force potentially millions to lose existing coverage; it will cost an estimated $2.3 trillion over its first 10 years; and it will grant unprecedented new powers to the Health and Human Services secretary.
Should members from these districts and those like them be concerned? Yes. Walking the Democratic line now means walking the plank. Sixty percent of the voters surveyed will vote for a candidate who opposes the current legislation and wants to start over.
Even the good news for Democrats is bad news for Democrats.
But the survey does provide a little good news for wavering Democrats. A congressman can buy himself a little grace if he had previously voted for health-care reform but now votes against it. Forty-nine percent of voters will feel more supportive of that member if he does so, 40% less supportive. More dramatically, 58% of voters say they will be more supportive of their congressman's re-election if he votes against the bill a second time. However, for those members who voted against it in November and vote yes this time, 61% of voters say they will be less likely to support their re-election.
There is no avoiding accountability for House Democrats or even any Senate Democrat that would think about voting for Pelosi's little fixes measure and any House Democrats that delude themselves into thinking that bypassing an actual vote on the Senate measure will help them avoid accountability, is in for a very rude awakening come November.