He could find nothing.
Initially, I thought the bill before the House pretty much had to be the Senate Senate bill as passed, but, upon reflection, I realized that this bill, if it could be passed by the House as it passed the Senate, would leave nothing to be "reconciled." So there must be some version of the Senate bill, amended to appease the various factions in the House, that must be voted up or down.
Or -- now says the House leadership -- maybe not. Maybe, says Speaker Pelosi and others on her team, they can pretend it was passed. And wish it it were passed. And, somehow, using this deem and pass rule, the bill will be considered to have passed... by Pelosi et al. ... even if there would not have been enough votes to pass on the yeas and nays.
Ms. Pelosi, it seems, is obviously willing to stoop to extraordinary procedural machinations in order to pass her bill. She is quoted as having said, "You go through the gate. If the gate's closed, you go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we'll pole vault in. If that doesn't work, we'll parachute in. But we're going to get health care reform passed for the American people."
But can she do this?
Well. One of the sites I saw this morning says this would be blatantly unconstitutional because it would violate Article I, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution, which provides, in pertinent part:
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively.But this provision clearly applies to veto overrides only. So my breathless right-wing friends are wrong about Speaker Pelosi's proposed 'deem and pass' tactic violating this provision.
But, they are not wrong about what the procedure being unconstitutional... IF one-fifth of the House demands a vote. Article I, Section 5, of the Constitution provides:
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal."Inasmuch as Congressional Republicans seem as ignorant of the Constitution as Congressional Democrats, there is no guarantee that a vote will be properly demanded. But, if it is, 'deem and pass' should be DOA.
And if Ms. Pelosi insists on pretending it was passed anyway, Mr. Obama should perform the bravest political act of his life and promise to veto the bill before the reconciliation folly takes place. Because any judge, liberal, conservative or Trotskyite, would have to rule the entire health care reform bill unconstitutional or else violate his or her oath.
P.S. -- From what I've been able to gather, 'deem and pass' has been used to do things that were generally considered necessary... but unpopular... like voting to raise the debt ceiling. No one wants to be on record as supporting raising the debt ceiling, when it becomes absolutely necessary, but there's no serious, substantial opposition to it either. Just another Profile in Cowardice....