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House Democrats’ tactic for health-care bill is debated

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Amy Goldstein
Washington Post
March 17, 2010

An obscure parliamentary maneuver favored by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suddenly ignited Tuesday as the latest tinder in the year-long partisan strife over reshaping the nation’s health-care system, triggering debate over the strategy’s legitimacy and political wisdom.

Republicans condemned Pelosi’s idea — in which House members would make a final decision on broad health-care changes without voting directly on the Senate version of the bill — as an abuse of the legislative process.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) called it “the ultimate in Washington power grabs.” Pelosi shot back: “I didn’t hear any of that ferocity when the Republicans used this, perhaps, hundreds of times.”

Off Capitol Hill, parliamentary experts of both parties said the tactic has been used with increasing frequency in recent years by Democrats and Republicans alike, usually earlier in the legislative process. And political analysts wrangled over whether the use of the “self-executing rule,” also known as a “deem and pass,” would further antagonize an electorate whose enthusiasm for Democrats has dimmed in the past year.

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This article was posted: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 5:32 am





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