House Republicans say they cannot block a Democratic maneuver that would allow Members to avoid a separate vote on the Senate health care bill.There is nothing that can prevent it, said Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the Rules Committee. Its something they can clearly do if they have the votes.Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told bloggers Monday morning that she is considering a rule that would deem the Senate bill enacted when the reconciliation bill containing a series of fixes is passed on the House floor.That would allow Democrats to avoid taking a difficult, separate vote on a Senate bill many dislike because it contains special deals for Nebraska, Florida, Louisiana and other states. Dreier ripped the plan as trying to avoid the accountability of an up-or-down vote and said it violated Pelosis pledge of an open and transparent Congress. It pains me to see, he said.The reconciliation bill is expected to delete those special Senate deals, delay an excise tax on high-cost health insurance plans and include a host of other popular changes sought by the House.Dreier also said that the self-executing rule was unprecedented, even though Republicans and Democrats have regularly used similar self-executing rules to deem passage of debt limit measures.The issue of increasing the debt ceiling is something that is regularly addressed, he said. Theres nothing thats ever been done like this before.
Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, holds his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem as he waits to take the stage for his town hall campaign rally with Sen. John McCain at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.