Pelosi Defends Deem-and-Pass Tactic

Posted March 18, 2010 at 1:29pm

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) dismissed as a “nonissue” a procedural maneuver House Democrats are eyeing to pass their health care overhaul in the wake of comments by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) that the move would be “disingenuous” and harm Congressional credibility.

House Democrats are considering a process that would allow them to avoid a separate vote on the unpopular Senate version of reform by deeming that measure passed once they approve a package of changes to it. Republicans in recent days have focused much of their fire on the tactic — which they are lashing as undemocratic and even unconstitutional. But Democrats note that Republicans used the tactic frequently when they were in the majority — and are planning to force a vote on it Thursday.

“The fact is, is that what we’re talking about here is the regular order that has been used hundreds of times,” Pelosi said at a midday press conference. She said attacks on the process reflect the “lengths that the insurance companies will go. They will do anything to stop this legislation.”

Pelosi noted that Democrats have not yet decided on their process for passing reform, though Democratic aides expect leaders to use the “deem-and-pass” strategy.