Saturday, March 20, 2010

Breaking: Deem-And-Pass Dies, Now It's Amend-Then-Pass

The Hill reports:

Top Democrats confirmed Saturday that the House would hold separate votes on the Senate healthcare bill and the reconciliation bill, making fixes to it.

The move effectively kills the "deem and pass" strategy Democrats had been eyeing to make changes to the Senate bill through a rule on the bill, which at the same time would have deemed the original Senate healthcare bill to have passed the House.

Hot Air tosses out two possible reasons for the change:

So what does this mean?  Hard to say.  It could be that the heat on Democrats for using DemonPass made it too difficult to hold onto votes; Pelosi may have calculated that she'd net more votes if she split the bills properly.  On the other hand, it could also mean that Pelosi has all the votes she needs and no longer needs the self-executing rule to get the bill out of the House.

If anyone wonders which it is, Major Garrett of Fox News helpfully tweeted that he believes that Pelosi now has the votes for tomorrow.  If that's too pessimistic for you, remember that DemonPass was intended to protect Dems opposed to the Cadillac Tax and other issues in the Senate bill.  The politics of the bill have only become more fraught since they floated that strategy, which could mean that Democrats now think it won't pass — and need a reason for its demise other than a failure of Pelosi to whip the count.  I lean more towards the former than the latter, but until the vote gets taken (or doesn't), we won't know for sure which applies.

Regardless, we need to keep the heat on.  What they're trying to do now is to pass amendments to a bill before passing the actual bill itself.  While this would remove the need for the Senate to do any sort of reconciliation at all (which we all know won't happen), it's just as blatantly improper as the Slaughter Solution of simply deeming the bill to have passed without actually taking the vote.

By the way, the White House has apparently been 'suggesting' for weeks that federal government employees do whatever they can to help DemCare pass.  Right, that's not anything close to coercion or anything.  And, for the astounding quote of the weekend, we have Democrat Rep. Alcee Hastings uttering this barn-burner:

"There ain't no rules here, we're trying to accomplish something. . . .All this talk about rules. . . .When the deal goes down . . . we make 'em up as we go along."

Clearly.  Anyone with any knowledge whatsoever about the Constitution or proper legislative process has figured that out by now.  I'm just surprised he was honest enough to say it out loud.  I suspect this'll come back in the form of campaign commercials quite often in the future...

Anyway, this unresponsive and destructively irresponsible Congress needs to be brought to its knees, and this is the issue on which it most needs to happen.  Until DemCare is completely dead...keep calling.

There's my two cents.

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