Home

Blog

Recently Visited

  • Getting bills...

News, Commentary, and What to Watch on WashingtonWatch.com Blog Feed

What is “Deeming,” Anyway? The Health Care Debate

healthCould the massive health care overhaul be “deemed” passed without the House taking a vote on it? That’s what they’re talking about this week. Let’s try to unpack what the heck is going on. And let’s try to have fun doing it!

First, a little history: In December—Christmas eve, specifically—the Senate passed a health care overhaul bill by the tiniest of margins.

It takes 60 votes to pass a controversial bill in the Senate because of a thing called the “cloture” rule. It’s a vote early in the process on whether to proceed with debate. If 41 senators don’t want to see a bill move and they vote against cloture, consideration of the bill doesn’t proceed, and the bill doesn’t pass.

After the Christmas eve vote in the Senate, there was a different kind of vote in Massachusetts—to decide who would succeed Ted Kennedy (D) in the Senate. Republican Scott Brown won.

As important as it was in signaling public concern about the health care issue, it took away the 60th Democratic vote in the Senate. Because of the cloture rule, now a Republican has to vote for a controversial bill or the bill can’t pass. And there are no Republicans backing the health care overhaul.

The House could just go ahead and pass the version of the bill that came out of the Senate. That idea that was batted around for a while, but enough House Democrats oppose parts of the Senate bill that it’s not going to happen.

So if there’s going to be a health care overhaul, there need to be changes to the Senate bill that accommodate members in the House. But that bill couldn’t return to the Senate and get a vote because of the cloture rule.

Now we need to know some more process: There are some votes in the Senate that don’t follow a cloture vote. “Reconciliation” is part of the annual budget process in which Congress marries up its new budget plan with the programs the government has running. You can get to a final vote on a reconciliation bill with a simple majority, not the 60 votes you need for other bills. So why not pass a health care bill in reconciliation?

That’s the direction things are headed—except there are a couple of problems with that. One is that it would break some important traditions in the Senate, which does pride itself on its careful deliberation (especially compared to the House—bunch of savages, they are).

no_snakesAnother is that substantive law changes aren’t supposed to go on reconciliation bills—just budget stuff. You can change the level of spending on a government program, for example—that’s budgetary—but you couldn’t outlaw the possession of a rare breed of snake. That doesn’t affect the budget.

But what about passing the Senate bill in the House, while promising the House Democrats who don’t like it that another bill will be passed in the Senate to fix the problems with the overhaul bill? That would give them the bill they want even if they have to hold their noses and vote for a bad bill. A smaller, “fixer” bill might be able to get through the Senate on reconciliation.

But that’s not quite good enough. Many House Democrats don’t trust the Senate—they’re so snooty and slow, those senators, and they might double-cross the House Democrats. And these Democrats really, really don’t want to cast a “yes” vote on that Senate bill.

clown_noseNow we have to talk a little bit about House rules. (Why should the Senate have all the fun?) The procedures for debate on important bills in the House are usually established by a resolution which is debated and passed before the House gets to the main bill. The resolution is called a “rule,” and a rule might say something like: “Debate lasts for two hours, with the time divided equally. No objections are allowed based on [this or that provision of the House rules]. And everybody has to wear a clown nose.” (Ignore that last part. It was a joke.)

To keep those worried House Democrats from having to vote on the Senate bill, the current talk is to use what’s called a “self-executing rule.” That’s a rule saying that when the House adopts it, the House simultaneously agrees to some other matter—in this case, the Senate health care bill.

The effect would be that the House never takes a vote on the Senate health care bill. It’s just “deemed” approved when the rule on the “fixer” bill is approved. (Here’s more than you ever wanted to know about self-executing rules.)

Would that work politically? Hard to know. Republicans would scream, “YOU VOTED ON THE RULE THAT APPROVED THE SENATE BILL! THAT’S JUST LIKE VOTING FOR THE SENATE BILL!!!!!!!!!!” (Yes, they would use that many exclamation points. They see this as a real political opportunity.) And there are arguments that you can’t actually “deem” important bills passed. You’ve got to have a vote.

So there is the deal with “deeming.” If nothing else, it will make you the best informed person at the cocktail party this weekend. Or it will get you disinvited from every cocktail party that ever happens again. That’s up to you.

The outcome of the health care debate is up to you too. You can reach your Member of Congress by dialing 202-224-3121. Be polite.

Visitor Comments for What is “Deeming,” Anyway? The Health Care Debate RSS 2.0

House Procedure—and Transparency in Collapse

[...] going on in terms of procedure with health care overhaul legislation. The post, called “What is Deeming, Anyway?“, comes in at a mere 900 words… If you’re a real public policy junkie, you might [...]

Libby

Thanks for the pol-splanation!

links for 2010-03-17 « Overton’s Arrow

[...] What is “Deeming,” Anyway? The Health Care Debate – The WashingtonWatch.com Blog (tags: politics procedure deem pass law regulation Congress) [...]

Dave

In other words, it’s a way to get around that pesky document we call The Constitution of The United States.

Arabella

Thanks for the education on Deeming.

You might be interested in how Senator Byrd, of reconciliation’s “Byrd Rule”, expressed his approval of using reconciliation to pass health reform in a letter to the Editor of Daily Mail, W.Va…he also gets irritated at Republican Kill-the-bill BS propaganda surfacing in the article.

Thursday March 4, 2010
Reconciliation can be used to find savings
Advertiser

It has been said that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. In the Daily Mail’s March 2 editorial regarding health care reform legislation, “Using reconciliation would hurt Democrats: Choking off debate is no way to muscle through health legislation,” the newspaper’s misunderstanding of congressional procedures misinforms readers who, in rapidly increasing numbers, find themselves unable to obtain or afford medical insurance.

The editorial correctly quoted me as saying in the spring of 2009 that using reconciliation to enact a huge health care package would “violate the intent and spirit of the budget process . . .”.

I believed then, as now, that the Senate should debate the health reform bill under regular rules, which it did. The result of that debate was the passing of a comprehensive health care reform bill in the Senate by a 60-vote supermajority.

I continue to support the budget reconciliation process for deficit reduction. The entire Senate- or House- passed health care bill could not and would not pass muster under the current reconciliation rules, which were established under my watch.

Yet a bill structured to reduce deficits by, for example, finding savings in Medicare or lowering health care costs, may be consistent with the Budget Act, and appropriately considered under reconciliation.
With all due respect, the Daily Mail’s hyperbole about “imposing government control,” acts of “disrespect to the American people” and “corruption” of Senate procedures resembles more the barkings from the nether regions of Glennbeckistan than the “sober and second thought” of one of West Virginia’s oldest and most respected daily newspapers.

My commitment to protecting the best interests of all West Virginians and the American people remains as firm and consistent as my devotion to observing the necessary and essential Senate rules and procedures intended to guarantee debate and the airing of diverse views.

Robert C. Byrd

Washington, D.C.

Byrd is the senior U.S senator from West Virginia.

Your Chance to Read the Health Care Bill – The WashingtonWatch.com Blog

[...] What is “Deeming,” Anyway? The Health Care Debate [...]

House Plans Health Care Overhaul Vote Sunday – The WashingtonWatch.com Blog

[...] What is “Deeming,” Anyway? The Health Care Debate [...]

Henry Massingale

As predicted , the first stages of the Health Care Bill was passed. Why, you ask ? It is because people wish to be seen for their in put of a view and not unite. What is lost is respect with in a concept of { Freedom Of Choice } to be a part of this system or not, with in this Health Care Force Pay Matrix.
What is offered by FASC Concepts is the Freedom Of Choice, because we feel it is unconstitutional to force pay into the failures of Health Care Insurance Companies and then Tax that money. As you can see our elected officials are paying little attention to the public. As I reach out to my computer and I knock , knock, knock on the screen, and I say is there any body out there?
This Health Care issue keeps taking turns and twist that bewilder the mind in thoughts. This $100 trillion dollar system ,as it would seem, I am counting up to $ 8 trillion 682 billion Dollars so far. On guy emailed me and he is up to $27 Trillion dollars.
You see when Harry Reid added a extra ….almost, $2 Trillion dollars in a tax forum, this through my numbers off with the 1 to 3 year spread of taxes.
Lets show you this way seeing how I run out of fingers to count on and I do not feel like taking my shoes off…..
to get a $4 Trillion dollar tax spread, it is based at a 0.25% up to 4 years.
To be able to see the amount taxed in one year as a whole at 50% is around $8.2 Trillion to $8.8 Trillion, please remember according to Government Officials this is to be a spread tax, 3 to 10 years.. There is over 10 thousand companies I have not even got to yet. So lets take this $ 8 trillion 682 billion Dollars , reach into your mind and say ,1 to 3 to 10 years Tax against the Health Care System, then take this 10% tax against the almost $4 Trillion Dollars, your factor must be a multiplication. Then you will see this Tax factor as net value of that system. But of course Government Officials will not show the a net value of a system or that one company, this wold make it to easy for the People to follow the Tax Dollar.
Remember this tax dollar does not include the split petition of the tax forum of increases in other areas, in the name of Health Care Reform. This tax forum I, or we can have very little effect against.
As for theses hidden taxes, they are not hidden. They are built into a split petition. They are meant not to be seen, only revealed as the Progressive Capital Tax Forum works the system in order to not over burden the money system. What is lost is trust because Government Officials by considering the public slow witted and as for this Bill, I want to read the Law that is to represent the Bill. This is because one word has a directive and a code and a sentence can lead to a different truth in concept.
So now it begins, the Civil Rights Law Suits and Constitutional Suits. We are not talking just a few law suits we are talking thousands will be filed because of the Freedom Of Choice is taken away and a Tax against money that is not Government Officials Rights to Tax, the Health Care Money for Coverage.
Within our web site we suggested to build a Government Web Site that will show the People the monthly income of this Health Care Dollar and what the dollar is used for. But of Course this can not be allowed this would audit the IRS and Government System.

So, what do you wish to do ? Sit back and complain or unite your voice as one and state that ,{ We believe in the Freedom Of Choice to be a Part Of this Health Care System or not. } We intend to give life to hope to where there is none.
FASC Concepts in and for Pay It Forward. Join the trickle effect and email President Obama …..
Our goal is to start a trickle effect and the goal is President Obama and this Bill to Law. To merge 250 million veiws for a honest Health Care reform. The trickle effect is , Email President Barack Obama
Mar 20, 2009 … How to contact President Barack Obama and other White House Officials.
http://www.emailthepresident.com/ – Cached – Similar
and state we support FASC Concepts in part or in full, and share your views and be respectful in order to gain respect.
Health Care within a moral value, is to ,
{ GIVE LIFE TO HOPE WHERE THERE IS NONE }
Henry Massingale
FASC Concepts in and for Pay It Forward
http://www.fascmovement.mysite.com on google. yahoo, and aol.com
please take the time and visit all my new friends on the net and if you wish to post with FASC Concepts you will be most welcomed. So join us and share your ideas as one in one voice. Just type in the web address and you will see over Results 1 – 10 of about 6,730 for www fascmovement com and there is over 10,000 post that are 6 month old.

Health Care Overhaul Legislation Goes Back to the House – The WashingtonWatch.com Blog

[...] What is “Deeming,” Anyway? The Health Care Debate [...]

The Strange Non-Budget Budget – The WashingtonWatch.com Blog

[...] line into a different resolution deeming Spratt’s resolution passed. (We’ve seen “deeming” around these parts before…) That different resolution was to govern debate on H.R. [...]

The WashingtonWatch.com Blog’s 2010 in Review – The WashingtonWatch.com Blog

[...] health care? Lots and lots of posts. Lots of [...]

Add Comment


Comments are limited to 1,000 characters. Please do other visitors the courtesy of expressing yourself concisely. WashingtonWatch.com bears no responsibility for comments nor any obligation to publish them. Comments that are impolite, off-topic, violations of others' rights, or advertisements are likely to be removed.