As reported yesterday on HUMAN EVENTS, Pelosi has a new health care bill scheme to bypass a vote on the Senate health care bill. The House would simply “deem” the Senate health care bill as passed as part of the House budget reconciliation “fix” bill vote.
National Journal is reporting that Pelosi buddy and House Rules Committee Chairman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) is devising what Republicans have termed the “Slaughter Solution” — a special rule trick that would seek to bypass a vote on the Senate health care bill “deeming” it passed by in the voting rules for the reconciliation bill.
(Slaughter spoke at the President’s health care “summit” of the dire need for health care reform because people are being forced to wear dead people’s dentures.)
House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was asked about the “deeming” issue at a pen and pad session with print reporters.
“The public has been outraged by a lack of transparency in this bill,” Cantor said. “If the majority and the Speaker can just deem this bill passed in the rule — that means no one has the right to even vote on it in the House and to see their level of support. That is certainly unprecedented in a bill of this size and scope.”
The tyranny of the majority. Slaughter is playing precisely the “rules be damned” game Pelosi has since becoming Speaker. She should be getting calls from every voter across America.
Conrad Says Reconciliation “Hard to See”
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) yesterday told The New York Times that reconciliation cannot be used on a bill: it can only be invoked on an existing law.
“It’s very hard to see how you draft, and hard to see how you score, a reconciliation bill to another bill that has not been passed and become law,” Conrad said.
Translation: The Senate health care bill must first be passed by the House and signed into law by the President before reconciliation could be used.
Senate parliamentarian Alan Frumin is set to rule on this issue at any time. He met last night with Senate Democrat leaders and representatives from the White House.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says the meeting was simply to get an idea of how their “goals” work within the reconciliation process to see “what the basic rules are.”
Frumin folded to Democratic pressure in December allowing Democrats to stop a reading of a lengthy Senate health care amendment during the marathon health care session. That allowed Democrats to keep their timetable and pass the Senate health care bill before the Christmas break and a repeat of the August town hall and tea party recess.
In a clear warning to House Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) yesterday sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) signed by all 41 Senate Republicans showing unified opposition to any attempts to change policy in the Senate-passed health care bill using the budget reconciliation trick. That would include the language that funds abortion using tax dollars included in the Senate bill.
Reid and Speaker Pelosi are attempting to use a budget reconciliation bill loaded with new backroom deals and a “fix” to the Senate bill that funds abortion with tax dollars.
Therein lays the problem.
“The Byrd Rule, as you know, was created by Senator Byrd to ensure that reconciliation bills were not used to enact policy changes, the primary purpose of which is not specifically related to the federal budget,” the letter states. “As it takes 60 votes to waive the Byrd Rule, we can ensure that any provision that trips the Byrd Rule will be stripped from the bill, which will require that the bill be sent back to the House for further consideration and additional votes.”
Any Senator can “raise a point of order” under the “Byrd Rule” to have offending policy language stricken from a reconciliation bill or disallow it from being added to the bill. It takes 60 votes to waive that rule. The Senate Democrats control 59 votes.
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) is leading a group of 12 House Democrats he says will not vote for the Senate bill unless changes are made to the language allowing federal funding of abortion. McConnell’s letter clearly serves as a huge red flag to House Democrats that their leadership cannot keep any promises to change the abortion language later in the Senate.
A vote to pass the House gimmick bill trick is a vote for federal funding of abortion, half a trillion dollars in Medicare cuts, half a trillion dollars of tax increases, the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase — and the government takeover of health care, among other things. It’s no wonder Democrats are desperate to try to find a way to hide their votes on the bill.
According to a Fox News report last night by Carl Cameron, Democrats who voted “yes” on the House bill and have now publicly stated they will vote “no” on the Senate bill unless the abortion language is changed: Stupak, Dan Lipinski (Ill.), James Oberstar (Minn.), Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.), Steve Driehaus (Ohio), Marion Berry (Ark.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.).
It will be up to their constituents to hold them accountable to their word. If these seven do vote “no” to sink the bill, there will be a last-minute flood of Democrat jumpers switching their vote to “no” when they see that the bill will fail. You heard it here first!
Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) was asked at the pen and pad session about Frumin’s level of credibility in the Republican caucus.
“We have to assume that the parliamentarian would give professional advice to the presiding officer and that the presiding officer will follow the recommendations of the parliamentarian and we proceed on that assumption,” Kyl said.