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March 19, 2010

Stupak's New Plan...Slaughter Solution On Steroids?

Okay let me say this up front... in addition to not being a lawyer, I'm not a parliamentarian and have never worked on the Hill. That said...

It looks like Nancy needs Stupak and his gang and they aren't going to take a promise of something on Wednesday for a vote today (well, Sunday).

What it looks like Stupak is asking for is
to pass the underlying Senate bill and then a chance to vote on an "enrollment corrections bill". Enrollment is the process by which the bill becomes an act and then is presented to the President. In short, they have to make sure the bills are the same before the Speaker and the President of the Senate sign it to confirm it's been passed and thus ready to be acted on by the President.

These "enrollment corrections bills" are normally used to correct technical mistakes, typos or some other error that needs to be fixed before the two bills can be said to be identical and presented as one to the President.

Why is this something? Well, it would make a change to the underlying Senate health care bill (the Stupak abortion language) in a way that wouldn't, according to Stupak's thinking, have to get 60 votes in the Senate, though after reading this, (pdf) I'm not too sure.

In the Senate, a House concurrent resolution to make changes is privileged, though if the change is substantive, it has been held that unanimous consent is required for its consideration; a Senate concurrent resolution to make changes is privileged in the Senate only if the changes are technical in nature. A Senate concurrent resolution making substantive changes would not be privileged and, if any Senator objected to its consideration, would need to be referred to committee or go over under the rule. Senate precedents specify that concurrent resolutions used for correcting enrollment are subject to amendment, but not of a legislative or general nature, except by unanimous consent.

Why is it Slaughter House on steroids? This is a process that is generally used to make technical changes. This is a major substantive change and it's only being done to get around the 60 vote requirement in the Senate.

The thing is, even if he can get the House to pass the corrections bill there's no guarantee that it would pass in the Senate. The underlying Senate bill would still have passed the House without the Stupak language and be signed into law. It seems Stupak is really looking for a way to vote for the bill and save face on abortion.

Update: Ah ha! They have a plan...Nancy will hold the passed bill hostage until the Senate passes the Stupak language.

Right.

Imagine this, the House passes the Senate bills, the reconciliation bill and the 'corrections'/Stupak bill. Then the Senate fails to pass the Stupak bill and Nancy does what? Sits on a passed and ready to go health care bill to keep her promise to Stupak?

Stupak is the most gullible man in the world if he thinks that Nancy is going to let a passed health care reform bill rot in her desk draw to keep her word to him.

Now for the politics...

Well, Nancy ain't got 216 if this is on the table.

It's a game of chicken, if this is what will happen on Sunday. Who will blink? The pro-life Stupak gang or the Pro-choicers who are saying screw this, we'll kill health care reform over it? But would the pro-choicers really do that? The odds of the 'corrections' bill passing the Senate are pretty slim. Are they really willing to kill this whole thing on a what? 30-40% chance chance the Senate will pass Stupack? I can't believe that.

I bet Stupack or enough of his gang cave before this happens but there's no way to know at this point.

Well have a better idea tomorrow morning after Stupak holds his press conference.

Profiles in Courage: The House Democrats hate the Senate bill with a passion (hence the Slaughter Solution to avoid soiling their hands by even voting on it). Problem is they have to and then hope the Senate agrees to the reconciliation bill. If the Senate doesn't follow through, then the Senate bill, Cornhusker Kickback and all becomes law.

Harry Reid is desperately trying convince the House Dems he will follow through and do his part. To that end, he has a letter signed by members of his caucus swearing up and down that the House can trust them. Harry didn't want to publicly release the letter but now he will, just without the signatures. That should build confidence!

Reid letter via Allah


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posted by DrewM. at 09:20 PM

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