In making the case for ramming through health care legislation via reconciliation, the White House has called for a “simple up-or-down vote.” But as we know, there’s nothing “simple” about the reconciliation process, and as it turns out, House Democrats are plotting to pass a bill without the “up-or-down vote” part either.
As Congress Daily first reported, “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 idea is to use a legislative trick called a “self-executing rule” that would allow House members to approve the reconciliation bill, and consider the Senate bill to have automatically passed, thus avoiding a vote on a bill that’s not only unpopular with the public, but among Democratic House members. For more detail on the tactic, see John Dickerson as well as Daniel Foster (here and here). The scheme, which House Republicans have dubbed the “Slaughter Solution,” would reek of the kind of legislative skullduggery that has been overwhelmingly rejected by the American people in general, and specifically in the Massachusetts Senate race. It’s such a bizarre maneuver that even liberal health care blogger Jonathan Cohn is concerned about its use.
Yet Lynn Woosley, a leader of the House Progressive Caucus, told ABC, “I don’t need to see my colleagues vote for the Senate bill in the House. We don’t like the Senate bill. Why should we be forced to do that?”
Should Democrats decide to go this route, we can add “simple up-or-down vote” to the graveyard of Obama’s broken pledges.