The Washington Post reports:
House leaders have decided to take a separate vote on the Senate health-care bill, rejecting an earlier, much-criticized strategy that would have permitted them to “deem” the unpopular measure passed without an explicit vote.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said Saturday that the House would take three votes Sunday: first, on a resolution that will set the terms of debate; second, on a package of amendments to the Senate bill that have been demanded by House members; and third, on the Senate bill itself.
Van Hollen, who has been working on the issue with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said House leaders concluded that that order — approving the amendments before approving the Senate bill — makes clear that the House intends to modify the Senate bill and not approve the Senate bill itself.
“Our objective all along was to make it clear that the House is amending the Senate bill, and we found another way of accomplishing that,” Van Hollen said in an interview.
House Democrats had considered “deeming” the Senate bill passed along with the amendment package, Pelosi said earlier this week, “because people don’t have to vote on the Senate bill.”
There’s no word, yes, as to why the Democrats decided to do it, but I’ve got two observations.
First, they would not be doing this at all if there was any real doubt in their mind that they’d win the vote. As I said earlier today, its looking like they have the votes.
Second, I’ve been watching the Rules Committee hearing this afternoon and there’s been very little discussion of the rules that would be used tomorrow. Obviously, there was behind the scenes head counting and negotiating going on.
At this point, I fully expect the bill to pass tomorrow,