Democrats Drop ‘Deem and Pass’ Strategy

Posted March 20, 2010 at 1:49pm

Updated: 4:32 p.m.

House Democrats are dropping a controversial maneuver they had been eyeing to avoid a separate up-or-down vote on the Senate-passed health care overhaul, Rules Committee member Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) confirmed.

The strategy — by which House Democrats would have deemed the Senate bill as passed once they approved their package of fixes — faced intense criticism from Republicans and some Democrats this week. And though the majority on Thursday managed to turn back a GOP resolution aimed at forcing the separate vote, moderates continued to be rattled by the blowback.

“We’ve had sanity prevail here, and I’m pleased about that,” Cardoza said during a Rules Committee markup of the fixes package, after asked about the development by Rules ranking member David Dreier (R-Calif.).

The news was first reported by the Washington Post.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) discussed the decision at a press conference before heading into a rally with the president.

“We believe this is a better process,” Hoyer said, likening it to the process used to adopt conference committee reports.

There will be two hours of debate on the reconciliation bill, followed immediately by votes on the reconciliation bill and a vote on the Senate bill, Hoyer said.

Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.