It’s a bit convoluted. It’s a procedural morass. But for Democrats who want to pass health care without voting for the Senate bill it may be a way.
Without the super majority Democrats have limited options
Having lost the super majority in the Senate and with it the ability to block a filibuster, Democrats may have found a way to pass health care reform without actually voting FOR the Senate bill.
House Democrats really don’t like the Senate version of health care reform. Many do not want to be put in a position where they have to return to their constituents and tell them they “had” to vote for the Senate bill.
Reconciliation is one procedural way around.. The House can vote on the Senate bill and then through a series of amendments, which are currently being negotiated on the Hill, change the Senate version to bring it closer to the House version. But this still requires a simple majority of the House to vote FOR the Senate bill.
Between abortion and immigration on the right and the loss of a public option on the left , very few House members are satisfied with the Senate bill.
And now an even more convoluted procedural gambit
The House and Senate each have their own set of rules. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has hinted that she is looking at another procedural gambit that would allow the House to adopt the Senate bill and send it to the President for signature without requiring House members to actually vote on the Senate bill.
Under the House rules, the parameters for debate are set by the Rules Committee. Once the rule for debate is adopted, the Senate bill could be “deemed” to have passed. House members could quite honestly tell their constituents that they never “voted for” the despised Senate bill.
The rule that allows legislation to be deemed passed is actually fairly common in the House. If the House uses this procedure, sending the final bill to the President could be as soon as the rule is adopted or could wait until all the amendments being negotiated now are finalized.
Republicans are insisting that there should be a clear vote on the Senate bill in the House. But given the seemingly inflexible positions taken by many House Democrats for a variety of reasons, this may be the only way the House can pass health care reform without actually voting for health care reform.
How likely is this move?
It may be unusual but don’t count it out. It has been reported that Vincent Morris, spokesman for the Chairman of the Rules Committee of the House, sent a memo to Congressional leaders explaining how the procedure would work. The memo went even further. It also listed a dozen examples of the procedure’s use in past legislation.
Make your voice heard. “Subscribe” above and post your comments and opinions. Make your views an important part of the debate.