House Democrats have scrapped a controversial plan to approve a Senate healthcare bill through a no-vote process and will instead hold a straight vote on the legislation.
House Dems agree to up-or-down votes on bill's provisions
Under the planned “self-executing rule,” the Senate bill would have been “deemed” as passed under a House rule for the reconciliation bill, a smaller piece of legislation that contains a number of “fixes” to the Senate bill.
This so-called “deem and pass” tactic drew fire from Republicans and others, who argued it subverts the Democratic process and is possibly illegal.
Instead, members will vote separately on the respective bills, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a member of the House leadership, told reporters. The votes are still slated for Sunday afternoon.
“First we'll have a vote on the rule (for the legislation), then a vote on the amendments to the Senate bill, the reconciliation package, and if and when that is adopted and I expect it will be adopted--to make it clear the Senate bill is being changed--then there will be a vote on Senate bill,” Van Hollen said, adding that this new sequencing of votes would comply with parliamentary rules.
“Every day, every hour, we continue to move in the right direction,” Van Hollen said of resolving issues on the legislation. “I expect to do that until we have a final vote.”
Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) said he was pleased with this revised process of passing the legislative package through a series of straight up-or-down votes.
Cardoza, a member of the House Rules Committee, which was holding a hearing all day Saturday before voting on the rule to the legislation, told the panel he would not vote for the rule unless it was a straight-up vote. “It's not constitutional,” he said. “The point I made was, we need to make sure there's no confusion. We don't need to have any doubt about what we're doing, or something that may be potentially litigated in the courts.”
Emerging from meetings throughout the day, House leadership seemed confident they would have the 216 votes necessary to approve the bill, despite lingering disagreements over abortion.
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