Saturday, March 20, 2010

11th Hour Reprieve?

Slaughter Solution, slaughtered?

Is this a sign that Obamacare is headed for the trash heap? Or is it a sign that Pelosi feels she now has the votes that she needs on both bills to get them to pass separately?
Top Democrats confirmed Saturday that the House would hold separate votes on the Senate healthcare bill and the reconciliation bill, making fixes to it.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), one of the chief deputy whips, Rep. Melvin Watt (D-N.C.), and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), all of whom said that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) won't use the tactic of deem and pass for healthcare reform.

The move effectively kills the "deem and pass" strategy Democrats had been eyeing to make changes to the Senate bill through a rule on the bill, which at the same time would have deemed the original Senate healthcare bill to have passed the House.

The House appears set now to move toward an up-or-down vote on the Senate healthcare bill, as well as a separate, up-or-down vote on the series of changes to that bill. There will still be a vote on the rule, as there always is for a piece of legislation, though it will not package the two bills together.

Democrats moved toward separating the votes after several members, including Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), had said they could not support the procedural maneuver.

Cardoza confirmed the change in position by House leadership during a Rules Committee meeting Saturday afternoon.
Several on the right are optimistic that this could mean an end to the House adopting the Senate bill. However, there is speculation swirling that Pelosi has enough support for both bills separately to get the votes to pass the bills. Ed Morrissey, however, believes that this gives Pelosi an out:
...remember that DemonPass was intended to protect Dems opposed to the Cadillac Tax and other issues in the Senate bill. The politics of the bill have only become more fraught since they floated that strategy, which could mean that Democrats now think it won’t pass — and need a reason for its demise other than a failure of Pelosi to whip the count.

It will be interesting to see if there is enough time left to get a vote count before the actual vote is taken. I am trying not to be pessimistic, however, that is my nature...

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