Explainer: How the House Could Pass Health Care Reform with One Vote

AP/CBS

AP/CBS

Here's a handy explanation of the plan Democrats are considering to pass a final version of health care reform legislation through the House. For more, check out this piece from the Washington Post.

Instead of taking two separate votes in the House -- one on the very unpopular Senate bill and another on a bill that fixes the Senate bill -- the proposed rule, which has been used Republicans more often than Democrats, would basically combine the two bills into one.

While Nancy Pelosi said she "liked" the plan "because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill," Democrats would STILL have to take an up or down vote on that Senate bill -- but they'll do so AT THE SAME TIME as they take a vote on the reconciliation bill that would fix the Senate bill.

They're still on the hook for the vote. They're still voting on health care.

They're just using a parliamentary maneuver to make it slightly more palatable. But only slightly. It's Constitutional -- the Congress gets to define its own rules and gets to decide what "passing" a bill means.

The problem is that Republicans have successfully spun this already as Democrats figuring out how to pass health care without voting on it. That's not true, but the perception matters: Democrats have been hurt by the notion that they put the health care legislation together using backroom deals that reward industry and favored constituencies.


The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder is CBS News' chief political consultant. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter.
  • Marc Ambinder

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