Procedural Trick

House Will 'Deem' Health-Care Passed

The House will soon vote on health-care reform, but it won't be straightforward: Nancy Pelosi plans on using the “self-executing rule” or “deem and pass” to move health-care reform through her caucus—basically, the House will vote to pass a series of reconciliation fixes and this package will “deem” the Senate bill passed. It’s a complicated procedure that is meant to spare House members from having to vote directly on the unpopular Senate bill. Pro-reform blogger Ezra Klein balks at the process: “No one cares whether the House passed the bill or ‘deemed’ the bill passed,” he writes. “People don't pay attention to whether you voted using the passive voice or not. But by falling back on this bizarre locution, the House signals to voters that it thinks it's passing a bad bill.” Still, under this procedure, this weekend’s vote will be the decisive one, and President Obama will be able to sign health-care reform into law.