Behind closed doors, the Obama Administration, House and Senate Democrat leaders are cutting a secret deal on ObamaCare. They have come up with a way to pass the Senate version of ObamaCare in the House without any House members having to vote directly on the bill. Now The Hill is reporting that the House and Senate Parliamentarians are helping to advise Democrats on how to pass ObamaCare. When will the self proclaimed most ethical Congress in history start acting ethical and honest? This 111th Congress has proven, to date, to be the most secretive, non-transparent and devious Congress in recent history.
I explained in a blog on The Foundry yesterday the unethical procedure being used to pass ObamaCare:
House members have come up with a unique way to structure a vote that attempts to avoid the House voting on legislation before it goes to the President. First, the House Budget Committee will report out a reconciliation bill. It is unclear as to whether the Stupak Amendment will be added. This reconciliation measure would be reported for consideration by the House of Representatives as a whole. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would then package the Senate passed Obamacare bill and the House reconciliation measure into one measure. The House rules committee will report out a rule that will allow the Senate passed Obamacare bill to pass the House without a vote.
This seems to be a violation of the constitutional requirement of Article 1, Section 7. The Constitution states in part “Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President of the United States.” The House will avoid a direct vote on the Senate passed ObamaCare by passing a self-executing rule that deems ObamaCare to be passed, if the House approves the rule setting up debate on ObamaCare. Under the rule if the reconciliation measure passes, then the Senate passed ObamaCare bill will be deemed to have passed the House without a vote.
There is precedent in the House for self-executing rules. In 2007, the House to pass a self-executing rule during the debate on a War Supplemental. Also, during the budget process over the past few years, the House has inserted language into the annual budget resolutions that "deems" as passed a debt limit increase. This type of rule allows the debt limit to pass the House without a vote and as similar rule would allow teh Senate version of ObamaCare to pass without a vote.
Late last night, The Hill reported that "Democrats Nearing Deal on Reconciliation":
House and Senate Democratic leaders and White House officials were optimistic Wednesday evening that they were nearing a deal on a reconciliation package that would smooth the way for them to finally complete health care reform. Congressional leaders and senior administration officials met in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office late in the day to hammer out a deal on reconciliation, meant to act as a sidecar of adjustments to the original $871 billion Senate-passed health care reform bill.
This meeting was not transparent and not open to the public. Pelosi was behind closed doors in order to cut a deal on a reconciliation measure that the House may consider in the next week or two. Yet again, Democrat leaders have used a closed door secret procedure to craft legislation to impose on Americans.
House Democratic leaders will walk their rank and file through portions of the package in a Thursday morning meeting, a leadership aide said.
This means that only Democrat elites have been part of this negotiation. Not until later today will the House Democrat caucus be allowed to see the reconciliation measure. Republicans need not apply, because they will not be allowed to see the reconciliation measure, until Democrats say so. And for your average American who will have to live under this new health care government run regime, you are not allowed to participate in the legislative process at all.
Reid declined to talk specifics as he exited the meeting. But he sounded optimistic that Democratic leaders were on the verge of a deal on the reconciliation package. “We are making progress. A lot of decisions were made,” Reid said. “I really do believe that the goal we’ve been seeking for such a long time -- health care reform -- is going to be done. We don’t have it all worked out, but we made a lot of progress.” Reid refused to speculate on a deadline for reaching a deal. President Barack Obama has said he’d like Congress to get health care done this month, and lawmakers are set to head out on a two-week recess beginning March 26.
This story in The Hill indicates that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is involved in the negotiations. We know that no Republican Senators were allowed to participate in this negotiation. There is a big shocker at the end of this story in The Hill.
Sources said the House and Senate Parliamentarians also attended the meeting to advise on reconciliation rules.
Stop the press! If this report is true, this could be a major scandal for the House and Senate Parliamentarians. They are supposed to be dispassionate umpires. Any appearance of the Parliamentarian gaming the system to aid one side to beat the rules should be denounced by all sides.
This was a very political and partisan strategy meeting with representatives of the White House, Democrat Speaker Pelosi and Democrat Leader Reid. Even if these Parliamentarians were not cheating the system by giving Democrats tips on how to bend the rules, the secrecy of the meeting should have been reason enough for the Senate Parliamentarian and his House counterpart to run for the exit. If Republicans lose every procedural objection during the reconcilation debate, they have a strong argument that the parliamentarians should recuse themselves from this proceeding because of a strong appearance of impropriety.