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House Democrats' Tactic For Health-Care Bill Is Debated

Publication Date: 
March 17, 2010
The Washington Post
Amy Goldstein

Professor Michael McConnell, an expert on constitutional law, is quoted on the constitutionality of using parliamentary maneuver "deem and pass" to pass the health care reform bill in Congress. Amy Goldstein of The Washington Post reports:

An obscure parliamentary maneuver favored by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suddenly ignited Tuesday as the latest tinder in the year-long partisan strife over reshaping the nation's health-care system, triggering debate over the strategy's legitimacy and political wisdom.

Republicans condemned Pelosi's idea -- in which House members would make a final decision on broad health-care changes without voting directly on the Senate version of the bill -- as an abuse of the legislative process.


Stanford's McConnell said that such a procedure would be unconstitutional in this case because, in passing both the Senate legislation and the changes in the reconciliation package in a single stroke, "no one bill will then have been passed by both the House and the Senate" because the Senate still would have to approve the changes added by the House.