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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

House GOP To Propose Resolution To Block Pelosi's 'Slaughter Solution'

Michelle Malkin has the details but the gist of it is that the House GOP is planning to force a vote on a resolution that will block Nancy Pelosi's attempt to bypass a vote on the Senate version of Obamacare by "deeming" it passed with a vote only on proposed fixes to that bill, which would then go back to the Senate so they could use another rarely used procedure called reconciliation to attempt to pass the "fixes" that the House dreamed up with 51 votes, bypassing a filibuster.

GOP resolution:

H. RES. __


Ensuring an up or down vote on certain health care legislation.

Resolved, That the Committee on Rules may not report a rule or order that provides for disposition of the Senate amendments to H.R. 3590, an Act entitled The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, unless such rule or order provides for—

(1) at least one hour of debate, equally divided and controlled by the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader, or their designees; and

(2) a requirement that the Speaker put the question on disposition of the Senate amendments and that the yeas and nays be considered as ordered thereon.


Wapo editorial asks "Why not be straightforward about it?"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Monday that she is leaning toward a parliamentary maneuver under which the House would vote on a package of changes to the Senate-approved reform bill, and the underlying Senate bill would then be "deemed" to have passed, even though the House had never voted on it. That may help some House members dodge a politically difficult decision, but it strikes us as a dodgy way to reform the health-care system. Democrats who vote for the package will be tagged with supporting the Senate bill in any event. Why not be straightforward about it?

More worrying is that Congress and the country have yet to see the changes, for which Democrats hope to win quick House approval and which they then hope to speed through the Senate under a procedure that would bar filibusters. These changes -- the so-called reconciliation bill -- are not all minor "fixes"; some could have far-reaching consequences. Such changes deserve to be fully understood and debated before they are voted on. ...

Answer: Pelosi doesn't have the votes and believes by "deeming" the Senate version passed she can protect vulnerable Democrats and give them some delusional hope that the people of this country will not hold them accountable.

Pelosi reportedly told liberal bloggers Monday that "nobody wants to vote for the Senate bill," and so she's strongly considering the non-vote vote.

"I like it, because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill," she said.

I repeat from an earlier piece.

I submit the Senate does not even have 51 Democrats willing to vote Pelosi's 'fixes' into law.

I think under the guise of trying to protect House Democrats, Nancy Pelosi is really throwing them under the bus in order to claim that she got "something" labeled healthcare passed and signed into law. She knows the Senate is not going be able to pass her "fixes".

Also related:


This two-votes-in-one gambit is a brazen affront to the plain language of the Constitution, which is intended to require democratic accountability. Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution says that in order for a "Bill" to "become a Law," it "shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate." This is why the House and Senate typically have a conference committee to work out differences in what each body passes. While sometimes one house cedes entirely to another, the expectation is that its Members must re-vote on the exact language of the other body's bill.

As Stanford law professor Michael McConnell pointed out in these pages yesterday, "The Slaughter solution attempts to allow the House to pass the Senate bill, plus a bill amending it, with a single vote. The senators would then vote only on the amendatory bill. But this means that no single bill will have passed both houses in the same form." If Congress can now decide that the House can vote for one bill and the Senate can vote for another, and the final result can be some arbitrary hybrid, then we have abandoned one of Madison's core checks and balances.

Yes, self-executing rules have been used in the past, but as the Congressional Research Service put it in a 2006 paper, "Originally, this type of rule was used to expedite House action in disposing of Senate amendments to House-passed bills." They've also been used for amendments such as to a 1998 bill that "would have permitted the CIA to offer employees an early-out retirement program"—but never before to elide a vote on the entire fundamental legislation.

This latest sleight-of-hand, bait and switch game of Pelosi's even has editorials from across the spectrum turning on Democrats as Malkin points out in another piece titled "When you’ve lost MSM newspaper editorial boards…."

More on the GOP resolution from The Politico:

Democrats obviously have the votes to defeat the Republicans' resolution, but their members might not want to go on the record supporting the leadership's strategy to enact the Senate's bill without actually voting on it. The episode will also give GOP lawmakers yet another chance to highlight some of the procedural shortcuts Democrats have employed to squeeze a bill through Congress without Republican support.

The GOP remembers that November is right around the corner in political time, one has to wonder if the Democrats have all lost their memories along with their minds.