Democrats Against Democracy
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
by Andrew Cline
March 17, 2010
For weeks, President Obama has been demanding an “up or down vote” on health care legislation. So where is the president now that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she would like to pass the Senate health care bill in the House without allowing an up or down vote on it?
Pelosi signaled on Monday that she favors Rep. Louise Slaughter’s proposal to pass the health care bill, in the words of the Washington Post, “without having members vote on it.” Using a House rule called a “self-executing rule,” members would vote on a package of amendments to the Senate bill, and the passage of those changes would by rule “deem” the Senate bill passed. But the House would never vote on the Senate bill itself.
That’s an awfully peculiar step to take for a party that has spent the last few weeks clamoring about how democratic it would be to do away with the filibuster so we could at last have a simple majority vote on the health care bill in the Senate. What’s democratic about voting on a bill without voting on it? And by the way, the self-executing rule also curtails floor debate and disallows amendments. Hail, democracy!