Pelosi, Obama Defend Procedure To Pass ReformRoll Call: "Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) dismissed as a 'nonissue' a procedural maneuver House Democrats are eyeing to pass their health care overhaul in the wake of comments by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) that the move would be 'disingenuous' and harm Congressional credibility. House Democrats are considering a process that would allow them to avoid a separate vote on the unpopular Senate version of reform by deeming that measure passed once they approve a package of changes to it. Republicans in recent days have focused much of their fire on the tactic - which they are lashing as undemocratic and even unconstitutional. But Democrats note that Republicans used the tactic frequently when they were in the majority - and are planning to force a vote on it Thursday. ... Pelosi noted that Democrats have not yet decided on their process for passing reform, though Democratic aides expect leaders to use the 'deem-and-pass' strategy" (Newmyer, 3/18).
The Hill: "White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama has no constitutional concerns about signing a bill passed by controversial House rules that are being proposed by Democrats to pass healthcare. Obama, a former constitutional law professor, would sign a bill if it is passed by the controversial 'Slaughter Solution,' Gibbs said. ... Gibbs denied reports that Obama has promised lawmakers campaign appearances or fundraising assistance in exchange for their votes, and he said there will be no retribution toward Democrats who vote against the president's plan" (Youngman, 3/18).
The Hill Blogs: "Democrats shot down a Republican effort to force an up-or-down vote on the Senate healthcare bill on Thursday afternoon. In a 222-203 vote, Democrats beat back a GOP resolution offered by Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Parker Griffith (Ala.) that would have forced lawmakers to vote on the Senate healthcare bill separately from the series of fixes they hope to make to that legislation. All Republican lawmakers who voted opposed the measure, which had the effect of ending the GOP's effort to force a vote. They were joined by 28 Democrats, who broke with party members on the vote. 222 Democrats supported the measure, though, meaning enough to proceed. Three members of both parties did not vote" (O'Brien, 3/18). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.