3/16/2010

Dems don't want to vote on the bill that Obama has called for an up-or-down vote on

Let me get this straight. Obama wants an up-or-down vote, but Congress wants to pass it without directly voting on the Senate version of the bill.

The Dems in the House want to combine the votes on the Senate bill and the reconciliation bills into one vote, then have the president sign the Senate bill and send the reconciliation bill to the Senate. The problem is that the House must pass the exact same bill that the Senate passed. The problem is also that the Senate parliamentarian has ruled that the Senate can only take up the reconciliation bill if it is passed by the House after the original Senate bill has become law.

The notion that the Dems want this health care bill to become law without an official vote on the bill so that they can deny responsibility for what is in the bill seems impossible to believe, but it also shows how hard Dems think it will be for them to get the votes. I can only imagine that this bill is blowing up in their faces.

On Monday Pelosi said that "nobody wants to vote for the Senate bill." It is understandable why they want to avoid a clean vote.

From the Washington Post today:

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. . . .

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