Health care is looming for a final showdown in the House this week.
I am not going to go through all the details of this latest version of the health care bill. Instead I wanted to raise to anyone’s attention who might be reading – NO MATTER HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT HEALTH CARE – that the House is about to engage in a tactic that I have never seen used before on major policy legislation and that each and every American should be upset about.
If you have not read today’s Wall Street Journal article on this new tactic, take a look – it is well worth the read – http://bit.ly/cwBHYN. According to numerous reports, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is moving to “deem” that the House has passed the Senate health-care bill and then send it to President Obama to sign. Under this plan, the House would vote on a more popular package of fixes to the Senate bill; under the House rule for that vote, passage would signify that lawmakers “deem” the health-care bill to be passed. The tactic is officially called a “self-executing rule” or a “deem and pass” — has been commonly used, although never to pass legislation as momentous as the $875 billion health-care bill.
As House leaders looked for a path that could get the Senate legislation through the chamber and onto Obama’s desk, political pundits and legal scholars have warned that Pelosi’s use of deem-and-pass in this way would run afoul of the Constitution. They point to a 1998 Supreme Court ruling that said each house of Congress must approve the exact same text of a bill before it can become law. A self-executing rule sidesteps that requirement, former federal appellate judge Michael McConnell argued in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
As the debate goes on as we march toward a vote this weekend, the worst part of this deal is that it has become so toxic that even Mrs. Pelosi isn’t bothering to defend the merits anymore, saying instead last week that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”