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Robert Hockett

Thanks a million, Patrick! It's certainly gratifying to see how quickly the truth-telling responses to these dishonest tactically prompted claims are coming these days!

All best,

Patrick S. O'Donnell

I've been simply a cheerleader of late, but once more Bob I find your analysis spot-on. As it says in today's (LA) Times on the front page:

'In the face of Republican attacks Tuesday, leading Democrats defended a controversial endgame maneuver that would allow them to pass the Senate version of a healthcare overhaul without taking a direct vote on the legislation's most divisive provisions.

The stratagem, known in the arcane language of Congress as a "self-executing" rule or "deem and pass," would allow House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to skirt a roll-call vote, speeding passage of the bill and helping limit attacks on Democrats facing tough competition in an election year.

Republicans used the same parliamentary shortcut to avoid difficult votes when they controlled Congress, but on Tuesday they accused Democrats of being high-handed and unseemly. [....]

The controversy over an arcane point of procedure is the latest example of how Republicans, though virtually powerless to change the content of the healthcare overhaul, have tried to hobble Democrats by discrediting the legislative process. [....]

At a news conference Tuesday, Pelosi said she had not decided on her legislative strategy for bringing the bill to a vote, but she did not rule out the controversial shortcut. "We will do what is necessary," she said.

Republicans said that amounted to parliamentary trickery, but such "deeming resolutions" have been used dozens of times in the past -- including by Republicans when they controlled the House from 1994 to 2006 -- to speed action on legislation or to sidestep difficult votes.

In 1996, for example, the House used the process to enact a bill giving the president a line-item veto. The approach has been used by both parties to enact increases in the national debt ceiling -- an essential vote that politicians of both parties do not like to cast because it is seen as an endorsement of deficit spending.' [....]

Full article here: http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-na-obama-health17-2010mar17,0,957916,full.story

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