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Posted at 3:35 PM ET, 01/ 4/2011

GOP unlikely to allow Dem amendments to repeal bill

By Greg Sargent

As I noted here yesterday, Rep. Peter Welch and other Democrats are hoping to introduce amendments to the GOP's health repeal bill that would exempt specific provisions in the Affordable Care Act from the GOP's repeal measure.

This has the support of the Dem leadership -- Chris Van Hollen signed on to the plan today -- and the idea is to force House members to go on record saying whether they support repealing the closure of the Medicare "donut" hole, the provision nixing discrimination against people with preexisting conditions, and so on.

Alas, it looks as if Dems are not going to have the chance to introduce these amendments. The GOP -- who now controls the House floor, in case you've forgotten -- is unlikely to allow any amendments to the bill.

Eric Cantor suggested to reporters today that the GOP will not allow what's known as an "open rule," which would allow Dems to introduce amendments such as the ones mentioned above:'

Cantor was asked whether there would be an open rule on the short repeal bill, the text of which Republicans made public last night. Under an open rule, Democrats would be allowed to propose amendments. Cantor strongly implied that this wouldn't happen. "It's a straightforward document," he said. "It reflect what most people inside the beltway and outside the beltway want."

Several more questions about the strategy for the vote were answered the same way. "This was litigated in the last election," said Cantor. He repeated that a few minutes later: "Most people out there believe that this health care bill has been litigated."

This isn't quite conclusive, but a GOP aide involved in the discussions confirms this means Republicans are unlikely to allow any amendments.

Dems, of course, will cry hypocrisy, pointing out that Republicans demanded again and again that they be allowed to introduce amendments and generally enjoy an open process while health reform was being debated. But Republicans have their response at the ready: "Obamacare" has already been "litigated," in the last Congress and in the elections; no need for an open amendment process during the debate over the GOP's push to get rid of it.

So while things could always change, it looks like the Dems will be frustrated in their efforts to put Republicans on the spot by forcing them to go on record supporting the specific repeal of provisions that are popular. It's a little taste of what House Dems will face in the minority.

By Greg Sargent  | January 4, 2011; 3:35 PM ET
Categories:  Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers  
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Next: GOP to invite Dems to join in reading of the Constitution

Comments

It's a very little taste compared to the many bills Pelosi passed without an open rule. DREAM Act, anyone?

At least all of those federal lawsuits challenging the Constitutionality of ObamaCare would be immediately dismissed if this were enacted:

http://rules-republicans.house.gov/Media/PDF/HR__-Repeal.pdf

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 4, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

OT but related....

This is how serious (not) the GOP is about deficit reduction....

"GOP Exempts Deficit Busting Policies From New Budget Rules"

Republicans' deficit reduction platform, which may have helped catapult them into the majority, is about to run headlong into a hard reality: Many of their key policy goals will increase the deficit dramatically.

To get around this fact, they've included measures in their new rules package to exempt some of their biggest legislative priorities from deficit consideration. Among the exceptions, which the House is likely to consider in the 112th Congress, are the health care repeal bill (scheduled for a vote a week from Wednesday), the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, an AMT patch, extending the estate tax, and more.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/gop-exempts-deficit-busting-policies-from-new-budget-rules.php

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 4, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Who cares, they work kind of like this board, all they do is accuse each other of hypocracy. Making accusations always satisfies the base and serves to deflect attention from the things they should be doing.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 4, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Don't you worry, shrink2, as there will be plenty of other bills open to amendments. Boehner has made this a priority of his, especially given his own criticism of Pelosi over the lack of amendments: "This is the first Congress in our history that has not allowed one bill to come to the floor under an open rule. The current freshmen class has served almost their entire term without ever having the chance to debate a bill under an open process in the House."

What's good for the goose . . .

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 4, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

What me worry?
A pox on both their houses.
Goose, gander, like I said who cares?
Group posing is best done in pajamas on little mats with a more-centered-than-thou instructor styling soothing platitudes.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 4, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Republicans, hypocrites?

Get Outta Here!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 4, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Ethan2010, why should Democrats get an "open rule" now when they didn't give Republicans (or even their own party, see quote about the entire freshman class) a single open rule for two years?

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 4, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

@clawrence: "Ethan2010, why should Democrats get an "open rule" now when they didn't give Republicans... a single open rule for two years?"

Careful there, poor Ethan's head would explode if he ever admitted that both parties play the same stupid games. He seems to think that only one party is guilty of hypocrisy.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 4, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I guess so, sbj3. So much for "Dems are going to get aggressive in the battle with the GOP over the repeal of health reform" though.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 4, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

"At 69, Mr. Cheney’s heart will never beat at full strength again, doctors say." NYT

They are probably Democrats.

But wow. His Princely Darkness sure doesn't look like he'll be lunging any more war horses.

http://astore.amazon.com/ucomicscom/images/0740726749

26 | January 4, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: shrink2 | January 4, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

@shrink: You know why Darth Vader's heart had to work so hard don't you?

http://wonkette.com/25678/big-dick-cheneys-mystery-bulge

Posted by: sbj3 | January 4, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Was there ever really a chance his heart would beat at full strength? He's had like 5 MIs. Not many hearts can have a normal output after that.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 4, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Will this happen to Rushbo too, I mean so that when he stands up he won't still be wider than he is tall? Will Rush too be forced to lose so much weight he'll be able to walk in the snow and leave footprints?

Posted by: shrink2 | January 4, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, Limbaugh had been illegally taking narcotics for all those years. I'm willing to bet those spared his heart.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 4, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

James Fallows points to interesting page layout in the China Daily about Cheney...

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/01/im-sure-this-was-just-an-accident-of-page-layout/68869/

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 4, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/demon-pass-how-the-new-house-rules-are-like-the-slaughter-solution.php?ref=fpblg

IOKIYAR

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 4, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

So, when will the next budget get passed as a result of the collaborative work of the appropriate committees (banking and commerce, appropriations, ways and means...)? Ya gotta wonder how long both sides can play the hypocrite card before someone catches on.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 4, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

All, looks like House Republicans are inviting House Dems to join in reading of the Constitution:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/01/dear_dems_get_out_on_house_flo.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 4, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Does Eric cantor know the meaning of the word litigated? Did he intend to use legislated? Maybe, but not really, because the thing LEGISLATED was HCR, repeal is a different thing. Debated? Same caveat.

Litigated means taken to court and adjudicated, which it most certainly is not.

Maybe Sarah Palin is moonlighting as one of his speech writers.

Posted by: ceflynline | January 4, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I love when Democrats complain about the exact same things they did to the Republicans mere months ago.

And vice-versa.

I'd love it even more if the fighting between the two parties actually prevented anything.

Posted by: BradG | January 4, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Bradg,

My dont we have a short memory, do you remember this?:

# he House Rules Committee, which is meant to tweak the language in bills that come out of committee, sometimes rewrites key passages of legislation approved by other committees, then forbids members from changing the bills on the floor. Only five times this year were House members allowed to amend policy bills on the floor, and only 15 percent of bills this year were open to amendment. For the entire 108th Congress, just 28 percent of total bills have been open to amendment -- barely more than half of what Democrats allowed in their last session in power in 1993-94. Further, the Rules Committee has blocked floor votes on legislation opposed by the Bush administration but supported by a majority of the House. For example, a bill to extend benefits to the long-term unemployed has been kept off the House floor despite what backers say is the support of a bipartisan majority.

# The Rules Committee commonly holds sessions late at night or in the wee hours of the morning, earning the nickname "the Dracula Congress" by critical Democrats and keeping some lawmakers quite literally in the dark about the legislation put before them. On the Patient's Bill of Rights legislation in 2001, for example, the Rules Committee made a one-word change in the middle of the night that drastically limited the liability of HMOs that deny coverage to their patients. The measure was hustled through the House hours later, with few lawmakers aware of the change.

# Congressional conference committees, charged with reconciling differences between House- and Senate-passed versions of the same legislation, have become dramatically more powerful in shaping bills. The panels, made up of a small group of lawmakers appointed by leaders in both parties, added a record 3,407 "pork barrel" projects to appropriations bills for this year's federal budget, items that were never debated or voted on beforehand by the House and Senate and whose congressional patrons are kept secret. This compares to just 47 projects added in conference committee in 1994, the last year of Democratic control.

# Bills are increasingly crafted behind closed doors, and on two major pieces of legislation -- the Medicare and energy bills -- few Democrats were allowed into the critical conference committee meetings, sessions that historically have been bipartisan. The energy bill -- a sweeping package meant to lay out a national energy policy -- started in closed-door meetings held by Vice President Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force and was written in private sessions on Capitol Hill that excluded all Democrats. On the Medicare negotiations, only two Democrats -- both already supportive of the bill -- were included.

# The amount of time spent openly debating bills has dropped dramatically, and lawmakers are further hamstrung by an abbreviated schedule that gives them little time to fully examine a bill before voting on it.

This was in 2004.

Posted by: rharring | January 4, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Most people wnat this repealed? Really? Tell that to the dozens of members who are calling my office every day now that their adult children are allowed to go back on their health coverage. We are covering them nopw, not waiting for the universal starting time. No one has heard one person complaining about that. Also, no one has heard one senior complaining about the adjustments to cover the Medicare donut hole. Haven't heard one complaint about people not getting kicked off their coverage or not getting coverage for a pre-existing condidtion. The repugs are doing their damnedest to get this overturned before most people can reap the benefits. The sooner folks see them, the harder the repubs will have it to support the insurance companies.

Posted by: mikel7 | January 4, 2011 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Most people wnat this repealed? Really? Tell that to the dozens of members who are calling my office every day now that their adult children are allowed to go back on their health coverage. We are covering them nopw, not waiting for the universal starting time. No one has heard one person complaining about that. Also, no one has heard one senior complaining about the adjustments to cover the Medicare donut hole. Haven't heard one complaint about people not getting kicked off their coverage or not getting coverage for a pre-existing condidtion. The repugs are doing their damnedest to get this overturned before most people can reap the benefits. The sooner folks see them, the harder the repubs will have it to support the insurance companies.

Posted by: mikel7 | January 4, 2011 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Most people wnat this repealed? Really? Tell that to the dozens of members who are calling my office every day now that their adult children are allowed to go back on their health coverage. We are covering them nopw, not waiting for the universal starting time. No one has heard one person complaining about that. Also, no one has heard one senior complaining about the adjustments to cover the Medicare donut hole. Haven't heard one complaint about people not getting kicked off their coverage or not getting coverage for a pre-existing condidtion. The repugs are doing their damnedest to get this overturned before most people can reap the benefits. The sooner folks see them, the harder the repubs will have it to support the insurance companies.

Posted by: mikel7 | January 4, 2011 9:52 PM | Report abuse

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