Slaughter digs in on "deem and pass" for Senate bill 

House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., is again suggesting the health care bill can be nullified if the Senate does not take up a second bill with fixes desired by House lawmakers.

Democrats, meanwhile, defeated an attempt by Republicans to force them to take a roll call vote on health care reform.

The House voted 222-203 to not consider a resolution by Rep. Parker Griffith, R-Ala., that would have essentially prevented Democrats from passing a $940 billion health care bill without ever casting a vote on it.

Under this tactic, Democrats would "deem" the health care bill passed after voting on a a reconciliation bill, which is a smaller measure that would correct some of the things they don't like in the larger bill.

Every Republican voted Thursday in favor of considering a resolution that would force a vote on the larger bill. The GOP was joined by 28 Democrats, including some of the party's most vulnerable freshmen. Among them were Rep. Bobby Bright of Alabama, and Glenn Nye of Virginia.

But the bill was defeated by a majority of Democrats, most of whom plan to support the health care bill but don't want a vote in their name attached to it because it does not yet include the corrections they seek.

“Today, House Democrats voted to protect themselves instead of their constituents, who are fed up with the lack of accountability and transparency in Washington," House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said after the vote.

Republicans have labeled the tactic the "Slaughter Solution," after Slaughter, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, which will decide how the health care bill is considered on the House floor.

Slaughter disputes the GOP's claim that Democrats are dodging transparency.

"What it is, is protection," said Slaughter. "If we don't have reconciliation then there is nothing."

I asked Slaughter what she meant by that, given that the Senate parliamentarian has ruled the Senate bill must be signed into law before the Senate can take up the reconciliation bill.

She responded, "The Senate rules say that the reconciliation bill has to be signed, our do not."

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