Indiana’s soon-to-be anointed Democrat Senate candidate U.S. Representative Brad Ellsworth (D-IN) stood with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi once again today and blocked a bipartisan measure that would have forced an up-or-down vote on the Democrats’ contentious health care plan, instead of using an obscure backroom maneuver that Democrats have suggested they may pursue.
According to The Hill:
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.
In order to avoid an up-or-down recorded vote on the controversial Senate health care bill entirely, Pelosi has signaled that she may use an obscure parliamentary maneuver known as “deem-and-pass” instead. This partisan tactic is already coming under fire from editorial boards, congressional Republicans, and a few Democrats who are tired of the backroom deal-making that has become a hallmark of this health care process.
“It’s not surprising that Brad Ellsworth supports a backroom deal on health care, considering he is relying on another backroom deal – not a public vote – in order to obtain his party’s nomination to the U.S. Senate,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokeswoman Amber Marchand.
“Ellsworth had a chance today to stand up for Hoosier voters and finally tell them where he stands on this critical debate in Washington, but instead, he stood with Nancy Pelosi and blocked this bipartisan effort,” Marchand continued. “Instead of standing up for his constituents and demanding an up-or-down vote on health care, Ellsworth embraced Pelosi’s partisan maneuvering behind closed doors.”
“This entire process has been anything but transparent, and Brad Ellsworth is to blame for not supporting a vote in the light of day. We’re confident that Hoosier voters will reject Ellsworth’s shady dealings when they elect a Republican to the U.S. Senate this November,” Marchand concluded.
“Democrats Struggled Tuesday To Defend Procedural Shortcuts They Might Use To Win Approval For Their Proposals In The Next Few Days.” (“Democrats Consider New Moves For Health Bill,” The New York Times, 3/17/10)
- “House Democrats Are So Skittish About The Piece Of Legislation That Is Now The Vehicle For Overhauling The Health Care System — The Bill Passed By The Senate In December — that they are considering a maneuver that would allow them to pass it without explicitly voting for it.” (“Democrats Consider New Moves For Health Bill,” The New York Times, 3/17/10)
“As they struggle to pass a health care reform bill – maybe by the end of this week, maybe by their Easter recess – House Democrats are digging deep into their bag of parliamentary tricks.(“Passing a Health Care Bill By Trickery Would Be A Foolish Mistake, Cleveland Plain-Dealer, 3/17/10) The goal is to minimize the political pain for wavering members. But the result, if they are successful, will be an unseemly odor around an issue that has been the Democratic Party’s Holy Grail at least since Harry Truman occupied the Oval Office. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is considering a maneuver known as “deem and pass” that would allow House members to approve a package of changes to the health care bill passed by the Senate without actually voting on the Senate bill.”
“House Republicans Had Democratic Leaders Tied In Knots Tuesday Trying To Defend A Special Rule To Enact The Senate’s Health Care Bill Without A Separate Vote, even as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) insisted she had not yet decided whether to use it.” (“Plans In Flux On Health Vote,” Roll Call, 3/17/10)