The sense around here for the last week or so has been that "only the House vote matters" in deciding the fate of Obamacare. But what if the Democrats can pass the bill with no House vote at all?
Astoundingly, House Democrats appear to be preparing to do just that:
House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.
Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.
Slaughter has not taken the plan to Speaker Pelosi as Democrats await CBO scores on the corrections bill. "Once the CBO gives us the score we'll spring right on it," she said. . . .
House members are concerned the Senate could fail to approve the corrections bill, making them nervous about passing the Senate bill with its much-maligned sweetheart deals for certain states.
"We're well beyond that," Pelosi said Tuesday, though she did not clarify.
That the Democrats could take this extraordinary step to avoid passing the Senate bill tells you that they have zero trust in the Senate to pass reconciliation "fixes," and zero trust in the president not to sign the Senate bill should it reach his desk and a reconciliation effort collapse. But most crucially, it gives the lie — in a big, big way — to the Democratic narrative that health-care reform should and will be finished via simple "majority rule," and not bound up in the arcane rules of the United States Senate.