To pass health reform, Democrats ready to enact 'Slaughter rule'

Despite Republican cries that using the "deem and pass" rule would be an unconstitutional way to pass legislation as immense as health reform, Democrats are prepared to proceed with this backup plan if they don't get the 216 votes necessary to pass the Senate Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), indicated during Wednesday's appearance on Good Morning America.

Under the "deem and pass," "self-executing" or Slaughter rule (named for committee chair Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-NY) a Senate-passed health bill would be "deemed" to have passed without a standard roll-call vote. Significant revisions sought by the House would be included in a separate budget reconciliation bill.

"This is a process that you can avoid a direct up or down vote on a bill. This is an attempt to hide the vote," House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said alongside Hoyer on GMA. "Why do that? It's so big, we should have an up or down vote."

"This is not an unusual procedural. We're going to vote on a rule," Hoyer responded. "It's simply like a conference report."

For more information:
- read this Los Angeles Times article
- check out this Associated Press article
- here's an entry from The Hill Blog
- read this letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from Va. AG Ken Cuccinelli