Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Louise Slaughter is Stupak's Lifesaver

From the GOP Leader blog:
The twisted scheme by which Democratic leaders plan to bend the rules to ram President Obama’s massive health care legislation through Congress now has a name: the Slaughter Solution.

The Slaughter Solution is a plan by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the Democratic chair of the powerful House Rules Committee and a key ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), to get the health care legislation through the House without an actual vote on the Senate-passed health care bill.

You see, Democratic leaders currently lack the votes needed to pass the Senate health care bill through the House. Under Slaughter’s scheme, Democratic leaders will overcome this problem by simply “deeming” the Senate bill passed in the House – without an actual vote by members of the House.
Okay, perhaps you're looking up at the title of this post, still scratching your heads and wondering: How on Earth is Louise Slaughter, Bart Stupak's lifesaver?

Well, Slate Magazine expounds a little bit more on Louise Slaughter's proposal, and in doing so, provides the solution to the above conundrum:
Bill A, the Senate health care bill, has already passed with 60 votes. House Democrats don't like it. It has the "cornhusker kickback"... and other flaws. So they plan to fix Bill A with [the House bill] Bill B, a reconciliation bill. Bill B is the one House Democrats like.

The rub is that House Democrats don't want to vote on Bill A without assurances that Bill B will make it through the Senate and become law. If it doesn't, they get stuck having voted for the politically unpleasant Bill A without being able to say they tried to fix Bill A with Bill B...

One method for accommodating the situation [Louise Slaughter's proposal] (
first reported in CongressDaily) would allow the House to vote on the Bill B and, after doing so, simply consider the Senate health care bill (Bill A) as passed. There would be no actual up-or-down vote on the underlying bill. This would be the legislative equivalent of the economist's old trick of assuming a can opener.

This approach would serve two purposes. First, Democrats [like Rep. Bart Stupak] who think the Senate bill doesn't sufficiently limit abortion rights would never have to be on record as having voted for it... Second, if the Senate didn't fulfill its end of the bargain by voting on Bill B—remember, it's already passed Bill A—then House Democrats would be able to say: I never voted for that crummy Bill A. In fact, I only voted for that nifty Bill B to fix it...

Republicans will try to say that the vote on Bill B is the equivalent of a vote on Bill A while arguing that this sleight of hand represents just another contortion in the Democrats' headlong effort to pass health care. (They'll also make a similar argument about a vote on the "rule" that allows all of this to take place, but if I spend too much time explaining that, you'll never come back here again.) Democrats will hope this maneuver will allow them to pass health care...
Mr. Stupak can still support the senate's health care/abortion-funding bill without being on record as having voted for the bill. And thus, Louise Slaughter is not only Stupak's lifesaver, she is also a lifesaver for government-funded abortion. All puns intended.

And speaking of "sleight of hand", did you see Nancy Pelosi's latest health care/sleight of hand technique? If you haven't seen it already, click here to watch the House Speaker demonstrate this amazing feat!

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