GOP Move to Scold Democrats for Procedural Wrangling Fails

Posted March 18, 2010 at 6:03pm

A House Republican resolution designed to scold House Democratic leaders for the way they have conducted themselves in the lead-up to a vote on the Senate health care reform bill failed by a vote of 232-181 late Thursday afternoon.

Republicans have spent days hammering Democratic leaders for hinting that they may use a procedural tactic to “deem and pass” the Senate health care bill in order to avoid having some of their vulnerable Members take a tough and politically damaging vote.

Boos could be heard throughout the left side of the chamber on Thursday as Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) began reading the resolution that blasted Democratic leaders for engaging in “deceptive behavior” through their endorsement of the procedural tactic that would allow the Senate health care bill to be “deemed” as passed.

Republicans say the deem-and-pass tactic — dubbed the “Slaughter Solution” by the GOP — would allow Democrats who face difficult re-election races this fall to avoid having to ever vote for the reform bill initially passed by the Senate, which contained state-specific sweeteners that were negotiated in order to win enough votes for passage.

“Democratic leadership has willfully abused its power to chart a legislative course for the Senate health care bill that is deliberately calculated to obfuscate what the House will vote on, in an illegitimate effort to confuse the public and thereby fraudulently insulate certain Representatives from accountability for their conduct of their offices,” the resolution said.

Ten Democrats joined 171 Republicans in voting against a motion to table the resolution made by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

Democrats Members who voted with Republicans include: Reps. Dan Boren (Okla.), Travis Childers (Miss.), Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), Larry Kissell (N.C.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Harry Mitchell (Ariz.), Walt Minnick (Idaho), Tom Perriello (Va.), Heath Shuler (N.C.) and Gene Taylor (Miss.).

The resolution was the second Republican-sponsored measure having to do with the deem-and-pass procedure to fail on Thursday.

On Tuesday afternoon, Members voted 222-203 to pass a previous question on a rule that was unrelated to the health care reform bill — a move that effectively blocked a Republican resolution that would have forced the up-or-down vote on the Senate bill and stopped Democrats from deeming it as passed.

Had the previous question failed, the Republican resolution would have gotten a vote. The 28 Democrats who voted with Republicans on that vote are currently opposed to or undecided on the health care reform bill.