Skip to comments.Rules Committee meeting descends into chaos -- "Deem & Pass," attempt
Posted on 03/20/2010 10:29:14 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
At the House Rules Committee meeting, Democrats desperate to pass their national health care plan are running into the barrier of basic civics. Here is the problem: The Senate has passed its HCR bill. If the House passes the same bill, it goes on to the president; once he signs it, the bill becomes law. But House Democrats, when they vote for the Senate bill using the "Deem & Pass" dodge, also want to simultaneously pass a package of amendments to the law. Except HCR will not, at that point, be law. It will only become law when the president signs it. Congress can amend the law -- it does so all the time -- but can it amend something that isn't law?
Which is where Democrats are tripping up. Passage of their HCR proposal should be very simple: Senate passes it, House passes it, president signs it. But House Democrats are terrified of voting for the unpopular bill, so they hope to pass it by "Deem & Pass," in which they will vote, not for the bill, but for a rule that both deems the Senate bill to have passed and, in the same vote, passes the package of amendments. So House Democrats will have two fig leaves: 1) they didn't vote directly for the Senate bill, and 2) they voted to simultaneously amend -- to "fix" -- the Senate bill.
The problem is the sequence. Can the House vote to amend something that isn't the law, as the Senate bill will not be law before the president's signature? The Rules Committee meeting turned into mass confusion when Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman said, "We're not going to 'deem' the bill passed. We're going to pass the Senate bill I would be against the idea of 'deeming' something -- we either pass it or we don't."
To Republican ears, that sounded as if Waxman was speaking out in support of a direct vote on the Senate plan. "I hope we're making news here," said Republican Rep. Joe Barton. If so, Barton added, "Praise the Lord!" Other Democrats jumped in to say that no, there would not be a direct vote on the Senate bill.
Barton then asked whether there would be some period of time between House passage of the Senate bill and House passage of the HCR amendments. During that period of time, the president would sign the Senate HCR bill into law. For the House to amend the HCR law, Barton said, it has to be law, which means the president has to have signed it. "If he doesn't, it ain't a law," Barton said.
Democratic Rep. Sander Levin jumped in. "We're going to be amending the law," he claimed. Waxman added, "We change current law, and the current law will be the Senate bill once it's voted on in the House."
But it won't be law until the president signs it. Obviously, Democrats are performing such strange contortions because many of their members are scared of voting for a bill that will likely mean defeat for them in November. But their attempts to avoid responsibility have created some very basic problems.
I guess they don’t have votes.
As we here at FR having been saying since this sham began.
To me, a vote of yes is grounds for Impeachment.
Live streaming http://www.c-span.org/Watch/C-SPAN2.aspx
Update 3-20, 12:25 PM (from MacAoidh): Byron York tweets that if its a deem and pass vote, Cardozo (one of the two California Democrats who have been supposedly bought off with water for the San Fernando Valley) wont vote for it.
Slaughter, just now said: “waiting on CBO” ???
It really doesn’t matter if they have the votes. They are scared. They have no choice but to pass or deem the senate bill word for word and comma for comma. It must then go to the president as written, he signs it and it is the law. It’s called a rock and a hard place.
Fight Harder...call email fax...now!
They must be reworking the CBO estimate again.
For want of a congress like the one that pledge their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor for liberty.
Now we have one that pledges only bribes, kickbacks, and tyranny for our enslavement.
They can’t deem it passed if they dont have the votes.
I am disgusted. I feel betrayed. First we learn that there is no law in effect that requires a presidential candidate to show proof that he is a natural born citizen. Now we learn that Congress doesn’t really have to win a vote to pass a law, they can just DEEM it passed.
Our system of government was designed to be run by civilized men of good will. Instead, we have a pack of barbarians in DC. Send them all home, except Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor.
The ‘fix’ bill...wouldn’t it have to pass the Senate before going to the Marxist for signature, and thus raise the specter of reconciliation?
So then the Senate would have the Republicans raising lots of amendments on which the parliamentarian would have to rule, which could torpedo the ‘fix’ bill. So that should cause House members to be reticent on trusting the Senate and hopefully lead to key ‘no’ votes on the HCR bill.
This is labyrinthine and so tortured. The only thing that has been stretched and contorted more than the legislative process is Madam Speaker’s leather face.
they still don’t have the votes. Wish i could be in D.C.
Times like this I wish I hadn’t given up sniffing glue ;)
Let’s hope that they choke on this spaghetti bowl of complexity.
Exactly. If they had the votes, they would have voted by now, as so many others have suggested. Something has gone afoul.
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