Birds of a feather | Arkansas Blog

Birds of a feather

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Both Tim Griffin and Blanche Lincoln are taking great pains to oppose a procedure (used often before, more often by Republicans) that is being discussed -- but not yet decided -- for House passage of the Senate health bill. This no-longer-so-strange bed fellowship tells you just about all you need to know about both of them. They both oppose health reform and the end of insurance company discrimination against sick people.

Here's a more honest description of the vote procedure than you'll get from either Griffin or Lincoln.

There would be a House vote on the bill under this procedure, despite what Lincoln would have you believe. And what she won't tell you is that this procedure is required because you can't get a vote on anything in the Senate. Is she beating up her Senate Republican brethren for this state of affairs? She is not. She just says No. Just like good Republcan Griffin.

LINCOLN NEWS RELEASE

Washington - U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln today condemned the use of a legislative procedure that would allow members of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Senate's health reform bill without actually voting for it, and she called on her opponent, Bill Halter, to do the same.


According to news reports, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she prefers using the option known as the "self-executing rule," because it would politically protect lawmakers who are reluctant to support the Senate bill.


The floor maneuver has been used in the past, but Lincoln said it should not be appropriate as a way to pass monumental health care reform.


"Arkansans and most Americans are demanding more accountability from Washington, not less, so I believe that any plan to approve major reform without actually voting for it simply won't fly outside the beltway," Lincoln said. "The Senate had a full and transparent debate on health care reform last year.  Because of my efforts, the original Senate proposal and the final Senate bill were both posted online 72 hours prior to their respective votes so that the public could review the bills.  I took the additional step to post to my official Web site the bill language and every amendment that the full Senate considered to give Arkansans the opportunity to review the proposals.


"The House should vote on the Senate health bill under normal rules.  I noticed that Bill Halter has called for more accountability in Washington, so I expect him to stand with me and support transparency throughout these final stages of the debate on health insurance reform."


House may try to pass Senate health-care bill without voting on it. [Washington Post, 3/16/2010]:


After laying the groundwork for a decisive vote this week on the Senate's health-care bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Monday that she might attempt to pass the measure without having members vote on it.


Instead, Pelosi (D-Calif.) would rely on a procedural sleight of hand: The House would vote on a more popular package of fixes to the Senate bill; under the House rule for that vote, passage would signify that lawmakers "deem" the health-care bill to be passed.
The tactic -- known as a "self-executing rule" or a "deem and pass" -- has been commonly used, although never to pass legislation as momentous as the $875 billion health-care bill. It is one of three options that Pelosi said she is considering for a late-week House vote, but she added that she prefers it because it would politically protect lawmakers who are reluctant to publicly support the measure.


"It's more insider and process-oriented than most people want to know," the speaker said in a roundtable discussion with bloggers Monday. "But I like it," she said, "because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill."

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