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March 12, 2010

Pelosi Tells Caucus They'll Be Using Slaughter Strategy, and That Vote Could Happen Next Week

A bill so popular (as Howell Raines assures us) they can't even vote for it. But have to "deem" it voted for.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her members Friday to brace themselves for a climatic health care vote as early as next week, warning them to clear their schedules for next weekend and promising to stay in session until the landmark vote, people present said afterwards.

President Barack Obama has postponed an overseas trip until March 21 presumably so he can be in Washington for the climactic vote. Asked about the scheduling change, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "I am delighted the president will be here for the passage of the bill. It is going to be historic."

Of course it will.

In addition, it looks like House Democrats won't have to vote directly on a Senate bill they really don't like. The speaker hasn't made a final decision, but she told her rank-and-file during the meeting that the plan now is to craft a rule that would "deem" the Senate bill passed once they approve the package of fixes.

That means they would vote on the rule and the so-called reconciliation package, which would make changes to the Senate bill and only requires 51 votes to pass in the Upper Chamber. In addition, the package of changes would also include a student lending bill that was paired with health care through the reconciliation process, leaders told their members on Friday.

All of this could change if the speaker faces major resistance from her rank-and-file, but it would mean Democrats won't be forced to cast a vote specifically in favor of the Senate bill, which included a series of controversial deals. During the meeting, party leaders reassured lawmakers that two of the most controversial deals -- the so-called Cornhusker Kickback and more Medicare Advantage money for Florida -- would be stripped out. But it appeared that additional Medicaid money for Louisiana and a $100 million hospital grant program requested by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) will both stay in the final bill.


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posted by Ace at 03:12 PM

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