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House Republicans to force vote on Pelosi’s Slaughter House solution; Update: Democrat condemns “deem and pass”

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By Michelle Malkin  •  March 16, 2010 11:23 AM

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Just heard from GOP Hill folks:

“House Republican leaders will announce this morning a plan to force a vote this week on a resolution that would require the Senate health care bill to be brought to an actual up-or-down vote. The likely text of the measure is below. If passed by the House, the resolution would prohibit Speaker Pelosi from implementing the “Slaughter Solution,” the scheme by which House Democratic leaders are seeking to “deem” the Senate bill as passed without an actual vote in the House. More details to come.”

Here’s the text:

H. RES. __

RESOLUTION

Ensuring an up or down vote on certain health care legislation.

Resolved, That the Committee on Rules may not report a rule or order that provides for disposition of the Senate amendments to H.R. 3590, an Act entitled The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, unless such rule or order provides for—

(1) at least one hour of debate, equally divided and controlled by the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader, or their designees; and

(2) a requirement that the Speaker put the question on disposition of the Senate amendments and that the yeas and nays be considered as ordered thereon.

***

Andy McCarthy weighs on self-executing rules, precedent, and the Slaughter rule:

At the Examiner, Mark Tapscott points out that when the Republican-controlled Congress used a “self-executing” rule very similar to the “Slaughter rule” to raise the debt ceiling in 2005, Rep. Louise Slaughter — along with Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Henry Waxman — went to court to try to reverse it, arguing that it was a blatant violation of the Constitution’s procedure for passing legislation (art. I, sec. 7).

The bad news for present purposes is that they lost the case. The D.C. Circuit in Public Citizen v. U.S. District Court upheld the procedure. Upheld in this case does not mean endorsed. The Court did not say the self-executing rule was constitutional. It said it could not reach the question due to the standards of deference that apply between departments of government: If the presiding officers of both houses of Congress attest that their respective chambers have passed a piece of legislation, the Court is required to accept those representations as conclusive.

That doesn’t mean it is proper for government officials to execute a procedure that violates the Constitution, nor does it mean that a presiding officer should attest something that is not true. It does, however, suggest that it may be an uphill battle to get a court to declare the process null and void.

Mark is correct to point out that raising the debt ceiling is (regrettably) a routine, uncontroversial practice. Byron made a similar point yesterday in running down the handful of times the “self-executing” procedure has been followed. The key here is that in each instance, at issue was something that was non-controversial or almost ministerial — not, as with heathcare, an unpopular, bitterly opposed, ragingly controversial socialization of the private economy.

I think Democrats are mistaking a customary short-cut for a substantive precedent.

… Sure, we don’t make lawmakers dot every “i” and cross every “t” every time. But that doesn’t mean we’ve abandoned the right to make them play it by the book when it comes to a controversial matter. When there’s a real dispute, they have to pass the bill the regular, constitutionally mandated way: Both houses on the exact same text, with every legislator accountable for his vote.

If, instead, the legislative process becomes a farce that departs from the constitutional procedures we are entitled to enforce, then it no longer represents the consent of the governed. It is the first American principle that government derives its just powers only from the consent of the governed, and when it takes on a form that becomes destructive of the fundamental rights of the governed, it is no longer legitimate.

More from the WSJ.

***

Meanwhile Syracuse Democrat Rep. Dan Maffei has announced he’ll climb aboard the Wreckonciliation Express.

And House Republicans spoke at the Capitol Hill protest today:

A bevy of House Republicans helped kick off Tuesday’s “Tea Party” rally on Capitol Hill.

House GOP lawmakers — but no Republican senators — joined protesters to rally against healthcare reform legislation before Congress.

In the first hour of the rally, seven House GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), who serves as Conference Chairman and who is a member of the House Republican leadership, sought to rouse up support for killing the healthcare legislation set to move through Congress.

Joining Pence were Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), and Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Joe WIlson (R-S.C.), Steve King (R-Iowa), and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).

***

Silly question, I repeat: WHERE IS THE ACTUAL RECONCILIATION BILL? As of 12:02pm Eastern today, the House Rules Committee and the Dems have not released it. They have, however, released a memo justifying their cramdown tactics. Priorities.

***

Update: Democrat Rep. Jason Altimire condemns his leaders’ “deem and pass” strategy:

A plan that would allow House Democrats to bypass a direct vote on the Senate’s healthcare bill is causing “discomfort,” a key centrist Democrat said Tuesday.

Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), a member of the Blue Dog and New Democrat Coalitions, said that the plan to pass the plan using the so-called “deem and pass” procedure is “wrong” and unpopular among his constituents.

There’s a lot of discomfort with the reconciliation process, the self-implementing rule, where you wouldn’t have a formal vote on maybe the most important policy of the past 40 years,” he said on Fox Business Network. “I have a big issue with the way they’re doing the process. I think it’s wrong and my constituents don’t like it.”

Altmire, a no vote on the House’s healthcare bill in November who is now undecided, is seen by many as critical to passage.

***
Are your congressional critters joining cleaver-wielding hands with Nan and Louise? Make your voice heard.


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