Thursday, March 11, 2010

Drastic measures to pass health care reform: The Slaughter solution

National Journal's Congress Daily broke the story yesterday that the House is considering a parliamentary  gimmick that would allow the legislative body to prepare and pass a new rule that would effectively deem the Senate health care reform bill as passed without ever bringing the bill to a vote.  In the deranged and desperate minds of the majority, this would give cover to members that do not want to vote in favor of the Reid bill directly:
House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.

Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.

Slaughter has not taken the plan to Speaker Pelosi as Democrats await CBO scores on the corrections bill. "Once the CBO gives us the score we'll spring right on it," she said.
Is she serious?  Apparently so.  Jon Ward at the Daily Caller interviewed Rep. Slaughter on the phone this evening, and got the scoop:

I had a brief interview with House Rules Committee Chair Louise Slaughter today, in which I asked her whether House Democrats will indeed use the procedure now known as the “Slaughter Solution,” in which the House would pass a reconciliation bill that would deem the Senate bill passed.

The idea is that by doing it this way, House members don’t have to actually vote for the Senate bill, which many of them don’t like for various reasons. Here’s my back and forth with Slaughter, which begins with a question about the likelihood that House Democrats will use this procedure:

DAILY CALLER: How realistic is it that they would do that?

SLAUGHTER: Pretty good.

DAILY CALLER: Pretty good?

SLAUGHTER: I, no, I don’t know. I’m just being a smart aleck. That decision’s not been made yet.

DAILY CALLER: Who’s going to make it?

SLAUGHTER: Well, I think the Speaker and I will probably be in on that.

DAILY CALLER: Now, can I ask you a rhetorical question? If you do this, can’t your opponents still say, ‘Well they didn’t technically vote for it but they still—’

SLAUGHTER: Your opponents can say anything.

DAILY CALLER: Right, but which argument will win?

SLAUGHTER: What we’ve got to do here is the right thing.
Got that?  They (Democrats in the House) know better than you do what is the right thing.  President Obama has substantively said the same thing when he blamed himself for not explaining the health care bill so that most Americans could understand it.  Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell told Sean Hannity on his radio show yesterday that Americans don't understand what's at stake.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) isn't taking the proposition lightly.  From an interview with Health Care News:
“I want to ensure there is an expedited review process to have the Supreme Court look at this. It’s about as unconstitutional as anything I’ve ever seen,” Hatch told Health Care News. “To pass a $2.5 trillion bill without the House even voting on it, by using manipulative parliamentary gimmicks, is just not the right thing to do.” [snip]

“Much of this depends on how the parliamentarian rules, but I think it’s safe to assume they are proceeding having worked in concert with the parliamentarian,” Hatch said. “As I understand it, the House will not even vote on the Reid bill. They will instead just vote on the small reconciliation package and try to manipulate the rules so that bill would become law automatically once that package was forced through the Senate.”
If this doesn't make you crazy angry, you are not paying attention.

Get up to the minute information on where your wavering Representative falls on the health care issue, and let them know what you think of the health care bill and this gutless affront to the United States Constitution.

Remember Schoolhouse Rock and "I'm Just a Bill"?  Sigh.

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