Deemed to be
An explanation by Byron Tau of “deem-and-pass”, currently being contemplated by House Democrats as a means of getting health care reform on the books.
Okay, so here’s how the “deem-and-pass” procedure would actually work. The House Rules committee is often called the “traffic cop” of the House – controlling what bills come to the floor and how much debate is allowed on each one. On each bill, they pass what is called a “rule” – a resolution determining what kind of debate is allowed on each bill. The whole House must first pass the rule, then the underlying legislation. In the case of “deem-and-pass,” the vote on the rule would also have the effect of passing the Senate bill.
Via the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein who, more importantly, elaborates on the purpose of this mechanism.
… the problem with explaining deem and pass is that it’s virtually impossible to explain why it’s being used. Reconciliation is simple enough: Republicans insist on filibustering and Democrats want the health-care reform fixes to have an up-or-down vote. If Republicans wouldn’t filibuster, Democrats wouldn’t use reconciliation. It’s as simple as that.
But deem and pass? House Democrats don’t want to vote for the Senate bill because it includes the excise tax and the Nebraska deal.
That’s right. Whether of the health care reform itself or of the fetid, district-specific vote clinchers, what House members want, and leadership is perfectly happy to provide, is deniability. “Oh, no, Constituent Smith/Reporter Jones, I didn’t vote for that bill.”
The pending health care reform is a really bad idea and nothing like it should become law. But minimally, members of Congress should demonstrate the courage of their convictions by actually voting “Yea” or “Nay” on the bill, not hiding behind a legislative dodge.