Gimmic to Pass Healthcare Bill Without Vote

Slaughter House Surprise:
Simply 'Deem' Health Bill Passed after Voting on Fix Bill

By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, DC, March 12, 2010 ( - Democrats struggling to find enough votes to pass the Senate bill in the House of Representatives could bypass the problem by simply "deeming" the health bill passed after voting for a separate compromise measure, rather than actually voting on it, according to House Rules Committee chair Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY).

Congress Daily reported Wednesday that Rep. Slaughter is considering preparing a rule that would deem the abortion-expanding Senate health care bill passed once the House approves a package of corrections that would make changes to the Senate version.

The idea, which is reportedly being eyed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, received backing by House Progressive Caucus co-chair Lynn Woolsey (D., Calif.).

“I don’t need to see my colleagues vote for the Senate bill in the House. We don’t like the Senate bill. Why should we be forced to do that?” Woolsey told ABC's Top Line Thursday. “But what we need to know, before any Senate bill is passed, that we have enough of the fixes that we’ve asked for, that we will be satisfied with the final product as a beginning for health care [reform].”

Woolsey noted that she "would be OK with" the House voting to deem the bill passed, rather than actually voting on the measure.

The notion was not offered without strong criticism from GOP lawmakers.

Sen. Orrin Hatch called the move "about as unconstitutional as anything I've ever seen."

“I want to ensure there is an expedited review process to have the Supreme Court look at this,” Hatch told Health Care News. “To pass a $2.5 trillion bill without the House even voting on it, by using manipulative parliamentary gimmicks, is just not the right thing to do.”

Dave Schnittinger condemned "the Slaughter Solution" on GOP House Minority Leader John Boehner's blog as, "The twisted scheme by which Democratic leaders plan to bend the rules to ram President Obama’s massive health care legislation through Congress."

Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) emphasized that Slaughter's scheme was merely "window-dressing" on what was essentially still a vote for the vastly pro-abortion Senate health care bill.

"When all that's stripped away, it's a vote on passing the Senate bill, and the Senate bill is the most pro-abortion single piece of legislation ever to come to the floor of the House since Roe versus Wade," Johnson told Thursday.

"[Slaughter's proposal] has got some unusual elements in that they're trying to disguise it, and say that they're deeming it passed after this and that - that's all window-dressing," he continued. "After ... a lot of talk about negotiating and so forth, what they're actually doing is just trying to ram through the Senate bill." 

Johnson noted that "we've seen a spate of propaganda in the last few days, from different professors and liberal groups saying the Senate bill really is not pro-abortion, in fact it's pro-life, and really contorted and ridiculous things we've seen ... none of this has any substance at all."

"If a lawmaker votes for this, he really forfeits pro-life credentials," he warned. "A vote on the rule is a vote to pass that bill and everything that's in it, and the House members will be accountable to their constituents for voting for everything that's in it."

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