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The Democrats' deem denial

Within the walls of the House of Representatives, enacting health-care reform through one vote that both declares -- or deems, as the term-of-art has it -- the Senate bill to be passed and amends it into a better bill through the reconciliation process makes a lot of sense. The courts have upheld such deeming as constitutional. There’s ample precedent, as it’s a tactic that both parties have now and then used. And it spares House Democrats from having to take a separate vote on the Senate bill, which contains such lulus as Ben Nelsons Nebraska set-aside and an excise tax on policies that kicks in at a lower level than that which the president recently recommended.

Outside the walls of the House, however, it’s a big glass jaw of a tactic. Republicans and their helpmeets on Fox News are having a field day labeling it a sneaky tactic; they demand an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill precisely because they want to attack Democrats for voting for provisions that the Democrats will then eliminate or amend in reconciliation. In a better world, a reasonable comeback for the Democrats would be to offer the up-or-down vote in the House in return for an up-or-down vote, no filibuster or need to go to a supermajority, in the Senate. But reasonable and Republican don’t rhyme, and absent that better world, the Democrats are only going to be pilloried for their strategic deeming.

What’s ridiculous about the Democratic deeming is that the Republicans are going to run against them with the provisions of the Senate bill whether the Democrats vote for it or not. What the Democrats need to do is man-up and woman-up and just pass the Senate bill, idiocies and all, and then amend it forthwith through reconciliation. I share the House Democrats’ contempt for the Senate (the existing Senate, anyway), but as I noted in a column a few weeks back, if the Democrats sacrifice health reform on the altar of bicameral mistrust, future historians will look back at them and pronounce, “These guys were jerks.”

Just pass the bill, amend it, and go home for the holidays.

By Harold Meyerson  | March 16, 2010; 4:32 PM ET
Categories:  Meyerson  | Tags:  Harold Meyerson  
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Comments

.....and the swamp shall be full.

Posted by: jeffreid1 | March 16, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't agree with you more about this one! "deeming" is a dumb idea.

Posted by: jwappe | March 16, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Over a year ago Obama got into bed with the drug companies to cut a "back room" deal.

http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com/

Ever since then, it is one back room deal after another. This bill stinks and should be defeated!

Posted by: N369RM | March 16, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey Meyerson,
Read your constitution - Article 1, Section 7! Every bill must be voted on seperately and signed! Every congressman and senator holds up his/her hand and promised to uphold the constitution you idiot! Do you think we should just break every rule just because you think this should pass? Get a serious clue!

Posted by: reddog19621 | March 16, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I need to apologize for the namecalling . . . I'm just getting a little sick and tired of seeing my country and my constitution run over and abused. If the democrats don't think there will be a backlash they are just decieved. I'm not the only one who is getting angry.

Posted by: reddog19621 | March 16, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree the manuever would probably be politically futile, but I can understand why many Dems would want to avoid having to vote for the Senate bill and the reconciliation fix separately -- after all, everyone remembers what happened to John Kerry when he was "for something before he was against it."

Posted by: PeterPrinciple | March 16, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Obama was the first to cut a "back room" deal over a year ago with the drug companies! READ:

http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com/

This is just one back room deal after another and the bill needs to be killed!

Posted by: N369RM | March 16, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Mr Meyerson, you and other liberals are really only guilty of one thing: showing your true colors. In your hearts, you believe in imposing things on people you "deem" proper for them. If they object, it's because they are stupid or unenlightened, or evil. We'll see next election, but I'm sure that will just make you think we're "stupider"

Posted by: huxtablebrian | March 16, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Go House Dems! Pass the bill anyway you can. Affordable health care for all Americans in 2010!

Posted by: Felipe_M | March 16, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

reddog, the Republicans have used the "deem" maneuver dozens of times in the past.

Posted by: herzliebster | March 16, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Reddog, Republicans used "deem and pass" 35 times in 2005-2006, and the Supreme Court ruled back then that it was perfectly constitutional. End of story.

Posted by: steveandshelley | March 16, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I beg to differ with the angry pseudo-constitutionalists. Everything they don't like is "against the constitution", as if speeding in a school zone was their god given right. There have been nothing but extreme tactics used by Republicans from the start. Faking willingness to work toward the objective not least (e.g.Sen Grasley's remarks to that effect to his constituents), endless diversion and obstruction not for principles, but in order to dig out from their political doldrums. Meanwhile, every common sensed person who knows anything at all about how our health insurance system [doesn't] work knows we must have a broad ability to pool risk and cost, because everyone will be in need at some point. Watching my mother get fired the day after getting a cancer diagnosis, and then die painfully from inability to get insurance or care focuses the mind.

Posted by: jpferg1 | March 16, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Where does it say in the bill that!
Health care cost will go down
Premiums will go down
Out of Pocket will go down
Deductables will go down

Where!!!!!!!!!! Or is this another Dem lie to get this passed. Then once enacted
prices and premiums skyrocket! Then what!
Just another entitlement to keep people dependent on the Government.

Posted by: usmc1969 | March 16, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

"And it spares House Democrats"

Oh, that's where you're wrong.

It makes even worse. The voters are restless, and it's going to be aimed at the Democrats for their inept handling of government.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | March 16, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

This is reddog . . .

There are videos out there of Obama, Reid and others railing against Republicans using reconcilation in the past. I'm not for anyone twisting the rules just because they are in power! With 59 senators there should be no problem doing this the right way! Do any any of you see the financial cliff this will send our country over? There is compassion and then there's giving away the farm! What is so hard to understand about that?

Posted by: reddog19621 | March 16, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Entitlements are addictive! Once you receive them you are hooked. Again who would want to look for a job if everything is provided for you to exist! Take a look at google for welfare, food stamps, 99 weeks unemployment and soon free health care for all crack heads, illegals and the permissive kids who can have fun and abort their mistakes. We pay for it all! Those of us who work!

Posted by: usmc1969 | March 16, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

obama’s bid to become the first american caesar

on march 16, 2010 obama publically made his bid to become the first american caesar when he declared the divine right of emperors to “deem” a law without a vote of congress.

obama had crossed the rubicon as even the most apolitical americans readily recognized this was the end of the american republic if unchallenged

Posted by: ProCounsel | March 16, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Go House Dems! Pass the bill anyway you can. Affordable health care for all Americans in 2010!

Posted by: Felipe_M | March 16, 2010 6:55 PM
Felepe_M, Wake-up, affordable health care? No way! You'll pay for it dearly with your job or pay raise sooner or later. Employers who are now having a hard time competing because of high cost of labor and benefits of American workers will now have to deal with high cost healthcare insurance that includes covering able body workers who are not their employees will cut down employees wages, shut down, or move to a cheaper foreign location. Your sons and daughters will suffer the worst recession paying for unstainable debt and support an ever increasing government dependent deadbeats. Government debts will grow even higher because the number of taxpayers will be outnumbered by welfare recipients. If this bill is passed it will be on your hands and the rest of the corrupt democrats.

Posted by: Jager3 | March 16, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

For all the people who think this is a great idea do I have a deal for YOU!!! It is called a pig in a poke, now this pig in a poke can be anything your little heart desires and I will tell you yeppers it is in there. BUT you do not get to check out this pig in a poke till you sign on the dotted line pay for it and can never ever get you money back, but your gonna love it!!...IDIOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Immanurse | March 16, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Isn't this a false description: the idea that deem and pass isn't done by votes? The WP should know better and report on how the procedure really works, not merely following the Death Panel like descriptions of the Repugs.

Posted by: tasiebers | March 16, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Any bill can be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court even if in the past it had been processed through a strange procedure that at the time was not explicitly taken to the Supremes for a ruling. A bill of this magnitude, passing through a slight of hand, will be challenged for sure and my feel is that it will. It is fair (a much used word now a days) for Congress to be brave and do its thing constitutionally without "deeming" anything.

Posted by: HarGru | March 16, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse


The idea of approving a bill that will give the Government control of almost one-fifth of our economy without a clear vote in both houses of Congress is an outrage.

The future health care and possibly the life every American will be altered by this megabill. This does even get to the fact that the bill was put together by multiple deals with special interests and a study, deliberate outpouring of oversimplifications, distortions and lies to the people by our political leaders. The simple fact is that to deliver all that was promised may bankrupt us. This is no way to run a kindergarten, never mind a country.

Posted by: SJP172 | March 16, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

"bill of this magnitude, passing through a slight of hand, will be challenged for sure and my feel is that it will."

Keep in mind Obama and the Democrats have done their best to insult the Supreme Court just for political points.

Now the irony is if they pass it this questionable way, the party that just whined about the court will be on it's knees begging the supreme court to see it "their way".

The irony is delicious.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | March 16, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

IF Democrats had the courage of their convictions, they would welcome an up or down vote. But of course they have no courage and therein lies the whole problem. They had no courage before the debacle in Massachusettes when they had commanding majorities in both houses and they have no courage now and "deeming" is all the evidence you need. The more things "change" the more they stay the same.

Posted by: Leopold1 | March 16, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't begrudge our Social Democrats their agenda, nor should they begrudge me my freedom.

It is time to divide America into two nations - into the land of the free and the land of state sponsored socialism.

Posted by: RUKidding0 | March 16, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Yuk. No double yuk.
Is this the best you can do?
Corrupt is, as corrupt does.

Posted by: mtpeaks | March 16, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

BARKING-DOG MAD


Unlike some of the WaPo columnists -- WE ARE ADULTS!!

WE GOT BRAINS!!

THIS STINKS!!

START OVER -- OR BE IMPEACHED!!

Posted by: russpoter | March 16, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

If these people always yapping on and on about costs or freedom probably would have stood in the way of Social Security and Medicare a few decades ago too. Fear is almost always the enemy of progress.

Posted by: ksanders32 | March 16, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

The Dems are so stupid they have put themselves into a position where they have no good alternatives. Vote on the Senate bill and the Repubs will hang it around their necks. "Deem it" and the Repubs will hang their cowardice around their necks. Don't pass anything and the Repubs will say they have wasted an entire year. I love it.

Posted by: delusional1 | March 16, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Funny that you mention "helpmates on Fox News" and ignor the Democrates helpmate at the Post.

Posted by: jsnyderwv | March 16, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

The sleaze factor is too much to overcome, and the dem plan is going down in flames.
But there should be no rejoicing in America tonight.
No, instead, there should be resolve. Steely resolve to demand that our elected officials get true reform done.
Let's start with the insurance companies. They're a bird ripe for plucking.

Posted by: mtpeaks | March 16, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

if Meyerson's loathing for the Fox News people is as intense as mine for the MSNBC people, then he is a real good hater.

Posted by: miglefitz | March 16, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I wish I had added that I am a big admirer of Chuck Todd, Savannah Guthrie, and the great Andrea Mitchell, all MSNBC folk. It's the evening lineup -- Matthews, Olbermann, Schultz, and the cosmically odious Rachel Maddow and their usual string of loony-left camera hog "guests" -- that are the object of my scorn.

Posted by: miglefitz | March 16, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh well, that didn't work.
So what's Plan B?

Posted by: mtpeaks | March 16, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Obama has demonized and polarized us to the point of no return. He has spread so much hate for each other, the Constitution, for-profit corporations, doctors, hospitals and far to many others to memtion. He continues to do this daily!
Preaching hate! Preaching us vs them! Like we who hate this bill are the villians.
He has done what he set out to do and created Dem vs Dem vs Corporations vs Banks vs Repubs. This administration has made all this so confusing that no one knows anything about this bill at all! If so then explain this!
How does anyone know my premiums will go down? Prove it!
Do you honestly believe it is not another entitlement? Explain! Do you really believe it will only cost 87 billion a year for the next 10 years? Prove it!

Posted by: usmc1969 | March 16, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not for anyone twisting the rules just because they are in power! With 59 senators there should be no problem doing this the right way!"

We wouldn't be in this mess if way back in the beginning a supermajority was not required to pass legislation, lest the Republicans filibuster. I'm not for the deem-and-pass option either, but at this point no matter how healthcare legislation is passed, the two parties will vilify each other in order to gain votes in the next election. It's sad. I just hope that in the end, more of the currently uninsured have the opportunity for affordable insurance.

Posted by: graphchick1 | March 16, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Woah, there, Judge Meyerson. "The courts have upheld such deeming as constitutional." Oh, really? When? In fact, there is no clear legal precedent for the tactic, and the fact that it hasn't been challenged previously probably owes more to the fact that it's been used infrequently and in uncontroversial situations than that it's constitutionally sound. Fred Barbash has a balanced review of the constitionality of the tactic on Politico (www.politico.com/news/ stories/0310/34508.html). Mr. Meyerson's craven and slap-dash analysis (i.e., deeming the bill passed "makes a lot of sense," but those meddling "helpmeets" at Foxnews will ruin it by being so darn "unreasonable") is further proof, as if more were needed, of how unhinged the Dems have become in chasing this white whale. Let it go. Get a good night's sleep and start over.

Posted by: bdiddy2 | March 16, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Democrats made the mistake (as others have before) of thinking they were given a free hand upon being elected. They were given a chance to show what they could do.

The arrogance they (extreme base, Congressional leaders & Obama + entourage) have shown is naturally flying back at them proportionally.

I remember the French liberal minority dancing in the streets of France when Mitterand was elected. They too learned very quickly that it was all an unrealistic dream to impose minority thinking on the majority. The tears and chants after Obama's election were the same. You don't change a democratic country by just wanting it to.

Since there are almost three more years, I hope for all of us that Obama will soon learn a little modesty and respect for others. If he finally stops teaching & imposing, he might learn how to listen, compromise, convince and work with others.

The lessons he needs to give are to his extreme liberal base who have done him more harm than have the Republicans.

Posted by: sally62 | March 16, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, drag the Constitution to the recycle bin... and then go home for the holidays.

Posted by: tropicalfolk | March 17, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

which holidays? seriously.

Posted by: daphne5 | March 17, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

This is what we the people should expect from a president who voted present more times than you can count. No guts, no glory, kick them all out.

Posted by: FormerNewYorkerNo9 | March 17, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Outside the walls of the House, however, it’s a big glass jaw of a tactic. Republicans and their helpmeets on Fox News are having a field day labeling it a sneaky tactic; they demand an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill precisely because they want to attack Democrats for voting for provisions that the Democrats will then eliminate or amend in reconciliation. In a better world, a reasonable comeback for the Democrats would be to offer the up-or-down vote in the House in return for an up-or-down vote, no filibuster or need to go to a supermajority, in the Senate. But reasonable and Republican don’t rhyme, and absent that better world, the Democrats are only going to be pilloried for their strategic deeming.

Hey Meyerson, if your position and opinions are so sound how come you won't accept Bill O'Riellys offer to appear on his show and debate the issue.

Could it be your gibberish won't stand up to scrutiny?

Posted by: frankn1 | March 17, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

This concept of 'deem and pass' as a procedural short cut to seriously affect the health care and 1/6th of our national finances tells me what the democrats in Congress think of American voters. They have total disregard for our wishes.

It is obvious that this health care bill is not popular with most of US citizens since there is no way the demmies can gather a simple majority let alone the normal, usual solid majority.

The demmies are desperate to shove their idea of reform at any cost on the public.

Nancy Pelosi is totally out of control.
Pelosi, Reid and Obama think they will save face by passing this awful legislation.

We will not forget this awful and desperate attempt to show raw power by these insane lawmakers.

We don't want their brand of health care.

Posted by: mlemac | March 17, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

If this terrible bill passes, America moves from a democratic republic to a country ruled by its government. The great majority of Americans do not want this "entitlement" program meant to buy votes for the Democrats. It wants real reform that has impact on health care costs not insurance regulation. Get a grip, the Democrats are merely playing games trying to distract the media from the fact that they no longer represent the people, they want to rule the people.

Posted by: staterighter | March 17, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Silly goose, they will just "pass" it by "deeming" it. Change the word to mean want you want, then do what you want.

It's just words...

Posted by: edmondsonpr | March 17, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

This is the most corrupt admin. in my lifetime and, inept as the Carter Admin.

Quit blaming Fox and take ownership of the dems socializing America.

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Posted by: rritkonlyyou | March 17, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

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