The Democrats are assaulting the very pillars of our democracy. As the debate on Obamacare reaches the long, painful end, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is confronting a political nightmare. She may not have the 216 votes necessary to pass the Senate’s health care bill in the House.
Hence, Mrs. Pelosi and her congressional Democratic allies are seriously considering using a procedural ruse to circumvent the traditional constitutional process. Led by Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, New York Democrat and chairman of the House Rules Committee, the new plan – called the “Slaughter Solution” – is not to pass the Senate version on an up-or-down vote. Rather, it is to have the House “deem” that the legislation was passed and then have members vote directly on a series of “sidecar” amendments to fix the things it does not like.
This would enable House Democrats to avoid going on the record voting for provisions in the Senate bill – the “Cornhusker Kickback,” the “Louisiana Purchase,” the tax on high-cost so-called “Cadillac” insurance plans – that are reviled by the public or labor-union bosses. If the reconciliation fixes pass, the House can send the Senate bill to President Obama for his signature without ever having had a formal up-or-down vote on the underlying legislation.
Many Democrats could claim they opposed the Senate bill while allowing it to pass. This would be an unprecedented violation of our democratic norms and procedures, established since the inception of the republic. Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution stipulates that for any bill to become a law, it must pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate. That is, not be “deemed” to have passed, but actually be voted on with the support of the required majority. The bill must contain the exact same language in both chambers – and in the version signed by the president – to be a legitimate law. This is why the House and Senate have a conference committee to iron out differences of competing versions. This is Civics 101.
Read More: By Jeffrey T. Kuhner, Washington Times