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15 March 2010

GA Dems: Vote Down The Rule, Vote Your Conscience On Health Care Reform

Roll Call reports this afternoon that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is "considering a rule that would deem the Senate [health care reform] bill enacted when the reconciliation bill containing a series of 'fixes' is passed on the House floor."

House Republicans say they cannot block a Democratic maneuver that would allow Members to avoid a separate vote on the Senate health care bill.

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.

Dennis, Steven T (2010-3-15). Dreier: GOP Can’t Stop Democrats From Procedural Scheme to Pass Health Bill. Roll Call. Retrieved on 2010-3-15.

This rule that Speaker Pelosi is considering doesn't pass the smell test. In my gut, it feels very undemocratic. Having a little experience with the legislative process, I can tell you that much like there are bad bills, there are also bad rules.

The Hawks rule in the Georgia House of Representatives certainly qualified as a bad rule. So did the rule pushed through by former House Speaker Glenn Richardson that barred members of the media from the House floor. The rule that would prevent an up-or-down vote on the Senate health care bill is a bad procedural rule, and Democrats should not be resorting to these sort of parliamentary tricks just to pass this health care reform bill.

Either the legislation has the votes or it doesn't.

If the bill has the votes, that's great. Pass the legislation, and be done with it. However, if the bill does not have the votes, then it probably is a bad bill. And bad bills should be sent back to committee for further study or changes.

The Democratic members of Georgia's congressional delegation need not support this rule. John Barrow, Sanford Bishop, Hank Johnson, John Lewis, Jim Marshall and David Scott need to vote down this bad rule. They can vote their conscience on the underlying health care bill, but this rule being considered by Speaker Pelosi needs to be defeated.

Nothing good can come of it.