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March 16, 2010

House May Try to Pass Bill Without Voting On It

"After laying the groundwork for a decisive vote this week on the Senate's health-care bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that she might attempt to pass the measure without having members vote on it," the Washington Post reports.

Instead, Pelosi (D-CA) "would rely on a procedural sleight of hand: The House would vote on a more popular package of fixes to the Senate bill; under the House rule for that vote, passage would signify that lawmakers 'deem' the health-care bill to be passed. The tactic -- known as a 'self-executing rule' or a 'deem and pass' -- has been commonly used, although never to pass legislation as momentous as the $875 billion health-care bill."

Republicans, of course, are calling it the "Slaughter solution."

Ezra Klein: "It's a circuitous strategy born of necessity. Pelosi doesn't have votes for the Senate bill without the reconciliation package. But the Senate parliamentarian said that the Senate bill must be signed into law before the reconciliation package can be signed into law. That removed Pelosi's favored option of passing the reconciliation fixes before passing the Senate bill. So now the House will vote on reconciliation explicitly and the Senate bill implicitly, which is politically easier, even though the effect is not any different than if Congress were to pass the Senate bill first and pass the reconciliation fixes after."


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