The Democrats in the House are working on an extraordinary break of parliamentary procedure that will make reconciliation look like a conciliatory gesture. It’s called the Slaughter rule named after House Rules chair Louise Slaughter.
Each new bill that is voted on by the complete congress has it’s own voting rules, Slaughter’s scheme attempts to get the Senate version of Obamacare passed through the house without the house having to vote on it. The rule will state that once the house approves the “corrections” bill which will legislate the compromises between the two houses, the Senate bill will be passed also. This will allow congressmen who object to one or two clauses of the bill to avoid registering an official vote for the offending clause. Thus the Stupak crowd will be able to vote for the bill without having to support the Senate’s pro-abortion clause.
House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.
Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.
Slaughter has not taken the plan to Speaker Pelosi as Democrats await CBO scores on the corrections bill. “Once the CBO gives us the score we’ll spring right on it,” she said.
As leaders put final touches on a corrections bill and await CBO scores, leaders, key committee chairmen and White House Chief of Staff Emanuel huddled Tuesday evening.
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman said members had a special message for Emanuel.
“He was certainly informed that we don’t feel we want any deadline assigned to us,” Waxman said.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said last week President Obama wanted the overhaul passed by March 18. Gibbs reiterated the deadline Tuesday.
“The information I gave out last week was based on conversations with staff that I’ve had here in the building, and I’ve been given nothing that would change that advice that I was given last week,” he said at Tuesday’s White House briefing.
House and Senate leaders have brushed off the mid-March push but have indicated they would like to pass something by Easter recess closer to the end of March. Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad said they expect to get preliminary scores today on the pieces CBO has in hand.
“Are we gonna get some scores from them tomorrow?” Conrad asked. “We anticipate we will. Final scores? No.”
House members are concerned the Senate could fail to approve the corrections bill, making them nervous about passing the Senate bill with its much-maligned sweetheart deals for certain states.
“We’re well beyond that,” Pelosi said Tuesday, though she did not clarify.
While members await a final package and a CBO score, Senate Majority Whip Durbin said Democrats have asked Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin for information on how reconciliation can be used “with our goals” and what “the basic rules are.”
Durbin said Democrats want to know how long the amendment process can go on. Republicans want to offer points of order that require 60 votes to overcome under the so-called Byrd rule. Democrats want points of order limited and straight majority votes. It will be up to the parliamentarian to rule what is subject to the Byrd rule and Democrats, Durbin indicated, are looking for guidance on how he views those questions.
“We’re talking to him, but in fairness to him … it is really hard to discuss this in theory. They have to see the bill and take a look at it,” Durbin said.
Once a bill is complete and scored, Democrats could then show the parliamentarian the bill in an effort “to try to anticipate problems under the Byrd rule.”
If the House passes the “reconciliation” bill without a vote on the Senate it will be a serious violation of protocol and a slap at the American People. It is hard to believe that they would even consider such a illegitimate manner to pass this bill over the will of the American People.