Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Self-executing rule?

No, it's not shooting oneself in the foot, although the Democrats have been adroit at doing just that lately.

Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly:
In a nutshell, the House would vote once -- approving the sidecar measure and "deeming" the Senate bill as having passed. The Senate bill would then head to the White House for a signature, while the budget fix would head to the Senate.

As expected, the responding tantrum is nearing full force. The WSJ editorial page is outraged; Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is suggesting laws approved through the self-executing rule aren't laws that Americans have to follow; and assorted GOP voices, on and off the Hill, are characterizing the deem-and-pass approach as unconstitutional.


Indeed, while the deem-and-pass approach used to be rare, its use became far more common 15 years ago -- right after Republicans took over Congress. Don Wolfensberger, former chief of staff for the House Rules Committee under Republicans, explained in a column a few years ago, "When Republicans took power in 1995, they soon lost their aversion to self-executing rules and proceeded to set new records under Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.)."

It's a familiar pattern -- Republicans open doors, and then whine incessantly when Democrats walk through them.
I wonder if this would prevent the Republicans from performing all their histronic speeches which I'm sure they have lined up and ready to go.... no show, no tedious amendments, no fight to the death on the House floor.... Would the self-executing rule prevent them from their heroic defense of the status quo?

Update: And here we go... Josh Marshall of TPM:
Okay, this is rich. Rep. Eric Cantor is insisting that Speaker Pelosi hold an up or down vote on the original senate bill alone rather than a single vote on the original bill and the amending bill.


Have we forgotten why we're here? The entire reason we're in this situation is that Cantor's fellow party members in the Senate won't allow any votes on health care at all. They wouldn't allow it last year and they're still blocking a simple up or down vote on any health care bill in the senate. That's the whole ball of wax.

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