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.
Nah, it's because she wants these votes to ram this despicable bill down our throats, plain and simple. Rep Cardoza thanked her for finally giving up this maneuver:
Cardoza confirmed the change in position by House leadership during a Rules Committee meeting Saturday afternoon.
"I want to thank the House leadership for indicating to a number of us that that's what's going to happen," he said.
Republicans had sought a separate vote on the Senate bill this past week, and tried to force one by offering a series of resolutions to do so, though these efforts were batted aside by House Democrats.
The Senate bill had been seen as a politically dangerous vote, as the Senate bill contains a number of "sweeteners" that had been included to invite Senate support. The reconciliation package would strike many of these deals.
Yeah, okay. I am glad that potentially un-Constitutional attempt is off the table, though obviously, that was not the reason for doing so. Hey, why should they start worrying about the Constitution NOW, for heaven's sake?
Well, how about the other Democrats who are holding up the works, you know, the Stupak people? Glad you asked. As it turns out, the Democrats have a solution for that, too You're gonna love this! Yep, they're pushing to take care of that abortion language with an Executive Order from The One:
House Democrats are working with the White House to craft an executive order that would clarify President Obama's intention to maintain a long-standing ban on federal funding of abortion, congressional Democrats said.
The effort was part of a hurried campaign by House leaders on Saturday to persuade a pivotal bloc of antiabortion Democrats to support far-reaching health insurance reforms.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and others huddled in a suite of offices just off the House floor, trying to come up with language that would satisfy six to 10 lawmakers, mostly Rust Belt Catholics, who voted for an earlier version of the health-care package but have threatened to vote against the $940 billion compromise expected to come before the House on Sunday. Those lawmakers have argued that the measure would open the door to federal funding for elective abortions. Democratic leaders counter that the measure would do no such thing.
"The intent is obviously to express what we said all along: that we believe the language that has been included in both bills seeks to accomplish . . . that there will be no use of public funds for abortion," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said upon emerging from the meeting. Asked whether the document could win over a significant number of the holdouts, Hoyer said: "I'm hopeful."
That may do it for Stupak and Group, I don't know (how in the world can I figure out the inner workings of these people? They clearly are in a world of their own, given their callous disregard for the will of the people whom they are SUPPOSED to be serving, after all):
The talks follow a decision by Pelosi to reject a suggestion that she hold a separate vote Sunday to strengthen abortion provisions in the compromise package. The speaker told reporters that she rejected the proposal from Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), a leader of the antiabortion faction.
Asked if she would permit such a vote, Pelosi said no, adding that she also would reject similar demands from liberals still hoping to advance their favorite causes.
"Not on abortion, not on public option, not on single payer, not on anything," Pelosi said. She later added: "The bill is the bill."
Democrats are close to securing the 216 votes needed to push the two-part legislation to final passage. House leaders said they will vote first on a package of revisions to the Senate health bill that was approved on Christmas Eve, then take up the Senate bill itself. Antiabortion Democrats represent by far the largest bloc of holdouts.
Earlier Saturday, Pelosi confirmed that an executive order on abortion "might be a possibility."
Those close to the talks said it is likely at the very least to restate Obama's commitment to upholding the Hyde Amendment, a 32-year-old provision that bars the use of public funds for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman. Rep. Dianna DeGette (Colo.), a leader among Democrats who support abortion rights, said she would support that option, so long as Stupak's provision is not given another vote. "That would be fine by me," she told reporters Saturday of the executive order.
Stupak's office issued a statement declaring he would like the talks to continue: "Congressman Stupak remains open to working with Speaker Pelosi and the President to reach an agreement that would maintain current law which prohibits federal funding of abortions and health plans that cover abortion."
Pelosi remained determined to ensure that, by the time the vote is held Sunday, she would prevail. "We'll have the votes when we bring the bill to the floor," she said.
It will be interesting to see what the day brings. As I understand it, there are all kinds of procedural issues involved, too, not that that seems to bother anyone on the Hill. One thing is for certain though - this is not about US, and all about OBAMA. That's how he got Kucinich to flip his vote, and go against all he had said he stood for. I am not kidding - hear it for yourself:
Yep - it is all about Obama, and "saving" his presidency. Who gives a damn if it bankrupts our country, forces companies to stop providing insurance (because it will be CHEAPER to pay the fine than to pay for the insurance), thus throwing us ALL into this healthcare pot, overseen by Kathleen Sebelius, who is not a doctor, but will be playing one for us all, thus, in all probability, delaying treatments due to the sheer VOLUME of people in the system? Not the Democrats, certainly, and most definitely NOT about Obama.
Nope - this isn't about us, or the nation, this is about Obama's ego, and what he sees as his legacy. So, thanks, Nancy, for being so enamored with Obama, that you forgot you serve the people not him. Your devotion to him has siphoned off any rationality you may have had. That wouldn't be as much of a problem if you weren't the Speaker of the House, and weren't forcing this bill on us all. But you are, all to please The One. That would be sad if it weren't so devastating for our nation. I hope you two are happy together, because you are trying to ruin our lives... (AP Photo, post St. Patrick's Day luncheon, March 17, 2010.)