Pelosi beats Republicans at their own game

What Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is exploring — not decided, just exploring — is, in fact, use of a procedure that was created by Republicans and used by them hundreds of times. It’s even called the “Dreier Doctrine,” after its champion, former Rules Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.), who not only employed “deem and pass” on many occasions, but even defended it in court.

Here’s all it means: Instead of two votes — one on the Senate bill as is, and a second on changes to it — there would be only one vote — on the Senate bill, deemed approved, as amended by the House. So, it’s only one vote, not two. But here’s the important point: It’s still an up-or-down vote on healthcare reform, and Americans will still know how every member of Congress voted on the most important issue of the year.

Let Republicans whine about the process. They do so at their own peril. Because it’s the product that counts, not the process.

Six months from now, when Americans see the advantage of being protected from outrageous rate increases and being able to buy health insurance they could never previously afford, they will thank those who voted for healthcare reform. They won’t give a fig about, or remember anything about, “deem and pass.”


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