Republicans have been railing against theby House Democrats to combine a vote on the Senate version of the health care bill with a vote on a bill to make changes to that bill under budget reconciliation -- a tactic they are calling the " ," after House Rules Chairman Rep. Louise Slaughter.
"The 'Slaughter Solution' is the ultimate in Washington power grabs, a legislative ploy that lets Democrats defy the will of the American people while attempting to eliminate any trace of actually doing so," House Republican Leader John Boehner (pictured).
But it's worth noting that this "Washington power grab" was used 36 times by House Republicans in 2005 and 2006, when they last controlled Congress, according to the Brookings Institution's Thomas Mann.
"The reauthorization of the Patriot Act, the Tax Relief Reconciliation Act, the Deficit Control Conference Report; all kinds of major measures have been approved through self-executing rules, which means the House votes indirectly rather than separately on these measures," Mann told NPR. He also noted that Democrats used the maneuver 49 times in the following Congress, which they controlled.
The American Enterprise Institute's Norman J. Ornstein echoed Mann's comments in a blog post Tuesday, noting the use of the move in the last GOP Congress by then-Republican Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier.
"That strategy, then decried by the House Democrats who are now using it, and now being called unconstitutional by [Wall Street Journal] editorialists, was defended by House Republicans in court (and upheld)," he wrote. "Dreier used it for a $40 billion deficit reduction package so that his fellow GOPers could avoid an embarrassing vote on immigration."
Hotsheet asked Boehner spokesman Michael Steel about Republican use of a maneuver Steel is now deeming a power grab.
"Nothing - nothing - approaches the sheer scale of this trillion-dollar government takeover of health care," Steel responded. "The Democrats simply can't hide from the American people using this procedural sleight-of-hand."