Pelosi on Democrats' Likely Health Care Procedure: "I like it because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill."


The Post's headline—"House may try to pass Senate health care bill without voting on it"—tells you all you really need to know about the what of House Democrats' procedural strategy via the Slaughter Rule (which I explained in greater detail here). But it doesn't tell you much about the why

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi explains that she "like[s] it because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill." And presumably that's what anxious legislators who might want to vote for reform but don't like the Senate bill are thinking too. But Democrats nervous about voting for the bill would still have to vote on the reconciliation bill—which, under the Slaughter Rule, would not only amend the original bill but also trigger its passage.

In other words, legislators will still have to cast a vote for the passage of the original Senate bill. And what's more, they'll do so using a complicated procedure that makes it look as if they are trying to hide their votes.

Politically, this seems like a far worse option, especially considering how much negative attention has already been paid to the deal-making, gimmicks, and procedural complexities of the health reform process. And lest I be accused of concern trolling, smart health reform advocates seem to think so too.

Pelosi has yet to signal that Democrats will go ahead with this plan, only that she likes the idea. So if it's necessary for passage, I don't doubt that it'll be the route she chooses. But I really don't see why it would be necessary or beneficial for any of the wavering Democrats it's presumably meant to placate.