Can’t get a 60-vote majority, and reconciliation seems unobtainable?  Just play make-believe.

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."

Why bother with a pesky Presidential signature, or an actual up-or-down vote, when keister-covering is so much more politically expedient?  Let’s just pretend the bill passed.

Shouldn’t something as massive as this have broad bipartisan support?  But not even the Democrats themselves, when they held a 60-vote majority, could get it past their own folks.  This is just wrong.

Filed under: DemocratsDougGovernmentHealthcarePolitics

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