With the ruling by the Senate Parliamentarian that having a law means, you know, actually having a law in force, the self-Slaughter Strategy seems dead, further complicating matters for Democrats who are trying to find the procedural loopholes necessary to pass health care. In effect, the Slaughter Strategy – a frankly bizarre attempt to redefine “passed” – was a way for the House to get the Senate to go first, even though right now, it’s the House’s turn. The House clearly doesn’t trust that Senate will make changes, especially since, as far as the White House is concerned, it doesn’t really matter. Remember, the Republicans are the opposition, but the Senate is the enemy.
Now, the House will actually be on the record on substantive, not procedural votes, and it will have to find a way to pass either the Senate bill or something acceptable to the Senate before reconciliation can move forward.
The Democrats will try to paint this as “raising the bar,” but of course, reconciliation simply cannot act on something that isn’t in force. Voting that something is conditionally in force, never presenting a finished law to the President for his signature, doesn’t actually pass a bill out of Congress, so this ruling should be taken as common sense and perfectly reasonable. That common sense and reason have departed from the Democratic camp by now should be evident to all.
One thing we should have learned by now is not to declare this thing dead until the new Congress is sworn in next January. But if the House is resorting to parliamentary contortions like the Slaughter Strategy, it’s clear they don’t think they have the votes at this point.
And the Senate majority leader is “sending a letter to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in which he dared the GOP to vote against reform,” which reminds me of nothing so much as this: