Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Voice of Experience


Deem and Fail


If King Hussein Obama the First's minions were half as clever at devising solutions to our nation's problems as they were at utilizing arcane legislature procedures, our nation would resemble the biblical land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey.  The latest tactic to thwart the clear will of the American people is known as "Deem and Pass."  I'll try and explain what Deem and Pass is in a moment but if you don't feel like plowing through the minutia of this legislative process, here's a quote from Nancy Pelosi that sums up all you absolutely must know about this latest strategy.

It's more insider and process-oriented than most people want to know.  But I like it because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill.

Just stop a moment and let that one sink in for a while.  Even for a complete idiot like Pelosi, this quote is a shocking admission.  Basically, Pelosi is saying that the best way to pass the Senate bill is to use a process that allows Congressmen not to vote on the Senate bill.  At face value, this quote doesn't even make sense.  The perceptive reader, i.e. the non-liberal reader, should be able to deduce that Deem and Pass is actually a way for Congressmen to cover their butts, to deny that they voted for the Senate bill when in fact they did. 


So how does that work?  To understand Deem and Pass, we must start in the House Rules Committee, currently chaired by Democratic Congresswomen Louise Slaughter of New York, the author of the Deem and Pass strategy.  You might remember Louise Slaughter from His Majesty's fake attempt to reach out to Republicans last month at the boring health care summit.  She's the buffoon who tried to convince us to pass healthcare reform because one of her constituents was using her dead sister's false teeth.


Over the past year, we've all become familiar with the rules of the Senate such as allowing unlimited debate and the use of the filibuster.  Since the House contains over four times the number of members as the Senate, the use of these rules in the House wouldn't be practical.  To allow 435 windbags to speak forever would effectively grind the legislative process in the House to a halt.  So over the years the House has developed mechanisms to limit debate and guide the legislative process so the House can function.  Hence the creation of the Rules Committee.


Every bill that comes to the House floor is considered under a rule that determines such issues as how long the House will debate the bill and what amendments, if any, can be offered.  So for example, when the House considers a bill on education, the Rules Committee might allow two hours of debate.  The chairman and ranking member, the senior member the minority party, of the Education and Labor Committee would each be given an hour to speak on this bill.  In practice, these two Congressman grant blocks of time to members of their party to speak about various aspects of the bill and once the time expires, the House starts the procedure for taking a vote.  So far, this process makes sense.


In addition, the rule for this bill might limit the number of amendments that can be proposed on the House floor and the sections of the bill that can be amended.  This idea also makes sense because by the time the bill gets to the floor most amendments have already been considered in committee and/or it's highly unlikely that an amendment would be approved anyway unless a majority of the Congress has already been polled by the party leaders to see if they would vote for it.  It would be a waste of time to propose these amendments only to see them voted down. 


Deem and Pass is simply another process that's been developed over the years by the Rules Committee similar to the ones described above to make the legislative process in the House more efficient.  Usually Deem and Pass is used for making technical, non-controversial changes to a bill.  (Before I go any further, I culled this explanation from a number of websites since no one site had a comprehensive one.  Believe it or not, Mother Jones and msnbc actually had the best analysis with The Washington Post getting an honorable mention.)  The Rules Committee adopts a rule that contains the technical changes, i.e. changes the House feels are required, to the bill passed in the Senate.  This rule basically contains two provisions.  The first provision is fairly straightforward.  If the Senate approves the technical changes, there's no need to send the approved changes back to the House because the House has already passed them.  The second provision is the one that is causing all the controversy.  This provision states that the underlying legislation, i.e. the Senate bill, is considered as to be passed by the House even though the vote was technically on the combined package of the bill and its amendments.  In simple English, in most cases, the use of Deem and Pass is the House saying, "We agree this bill should be a law but we feel these minor changes should be made."


If I lost you on that explanation, try and hang in there as I flesh out the preceding analysis by describing how Deem and Pass would most likely be applied to the current Senate bill on healthcare destruction.


·         Step 1 – The House Rules Committee adopts the rule that contains the changes to the Senate bill along with the provision to consider the Senate bill as if passed by the House in a separate vote.


·         Step 2 - The House conducts a roll call vote on the Senate bill under this rule and passes the bill.


·         Step 3- The Senate bill, without the changes, has been effectively passed by both Houses of Congress.  This bill goes to His Majesty, King Hussein Obama the First, who affixes the royal seal and the bill is now a law.


·         Step 4 – The Senate considers the changes to the bill, which is now law, and attempts to enact those changes using the budget process known as "reconciliation."  If these lunatics ever get this far, I try to explain the reconciliation process in a separate post.  For now, the important point to known is that bills considered under reconciliation can't be filibustered so the Democrats would only need 51 votes.


·         Step 5 – The Senate enacts the House changes to their bill and these changes go to His Majesty for his royal seal.  Remember there's no need to send the changes back to the House because they've already approved these changes.


·         Step 6 – His Majesty affixes his royal seal to these changes and America starts down the road leading to a socialist utopia, with limited freedoms and reduced opportunity.


So why are the Democrats proposing to use such a convoluted process?  Well, if you think about it, there's a number of advantages to using Deem and Pass.


ü  If the Senate fails to pass the House changes, any Congressman who voted for the Senate bill under this rule can deny that he voted for only the Senate bill.  He'll cry and whine in front of his angry union supporters, telling them that he only voted for the Senate bill as amended by the House.  He'd tell them to go over to the Senate and ask them why they didn't approve the changes. 


ü  Since the Senate bill would become a law, it might be possible to use reconciliation and avoid the threat of a filibuster.


ü  As long as the Senate approved the changes exactly as approved by the House, there would be no need for another political ugly vote on healthcare in the House.  The stupid House members who vote for this bill could start on the impossible task of trying to explain their actions to their angry constituents without having to defend another wrong vote.  In essence, it would give them more time to patch up the damage.


I'll admit that this is a clever approach, worthy of a Bond villain, but I don't think it will work.  If you really think about it, the main lynchpin of this plan is that the American public consists of a bunch of idiots.


ü  If your Congressman tries to pull off the big lie, I voted for it but I didn't vote for it, people will see right through it.  John Kerry tried that one and we all know how that worked out.  People will ask this Congressman why they ran the risk of the Senate not approving their changes. 


ü  The whole reason the House wants these changes is that the Senate deleted them from the original bill passed by the House.  What makes them think the Senate will change their minds?  Granted, with reconciliation, fewer votes will be needed but I'm not so sure even fifty votes can be secured for many of these changes. 


ü  The only way to avoid another vote in the House is for the Senate to approve the House changes without amendment.  What are the odds of that happening? 


And on a more fundamental level, how do His Majesty and his deluded minions explain that the only way to pass healthcare reform was to execute the legislative equivalent of doing the limbo under a flaming bar while walking on a tightrope suspended over a shark tank?  I'm sure they'll try to pin the opposition to their reform on the special interests and partisan bickering but the majority of the American public, who have consistently expressed their opposition to His Majesty's plans, won't buy it.  Unfortunately for His Majesty, the serfs are still a little too smart to buy into this "change."  Maybe after four years as the head of our educational system, His Majesty will have indoctrinated enough serfs to take another stab at this one in twenty years.

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