Greta Van Susteren begins her segment with Mitch McConnell with the headline "Scheme and Deem"? and has a nice little "fair and balanced" interview to ask Mitch McConnell just what that means. Of course what she doesn't bother to point out in the interview is that the use of the procedure known as the self-executing rule was started by and used repeatedly by Republicans. I don't necessarily think it's such a great idea because as Ezra Klein pointed out on Countdown tonight, the Republicans are going to use the vote against them no matter what they do and the Senate still has to approve the fixes no matter what they do. It doesn't look like that smart of a move politically. As Taegan Goddard pointed out, it's still up in the air whether Nancy Pelosi will use the procedure or not.
From Steve Benen -- THE IOKIYAR RULE, PROCEDURAL EDITION:
For a while, Republicans were awfully worked up about using the reconciliation process to pass a health-care related budget fix, despite the GOP's repeated use of the same procedure. Now Republicans are headed for the fainting couch over use of the self-executing rule, despite the GOP's repeated reliance on the same procedure. [...]
Of particular interest were complaints from Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), the ranking member on the House Rules Committee, who called use of the self-executing rule "very painful and troubling." It's interesting -- Dreier found the rule neither painful nor troubling when he used it in 2006.
Indeed, while the deem-and-pass approach used to be rare, its use became far more common 15 years ago -- right after Republicans took over Congress. Don Wolfensberger, former chief of staff for the House Rules Committee under Republicans, explained in a column a few years ago, "When Republicans took power in 1995, they soon lost their aversion to self-executing rules and proceeded to set new records under Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.)."
In their latest attempt to derail health care reform, conservatives are attacking the Democrats' preferred procedural strategy for passing the legislation. The GOP is trying to put Democratic leaders on the defensive about using what's known as a self-executing rule to push health reform through, with House Minority Leader John Boehner dubbing it, "the ultimate in Washington power grabs."
The issue, as I alluded to in this post, is Democrats' tentative decision to use a rule that would allow them to pass both the Senate health care bill and the reconciliation fix with a single vote. Republicans have dubbed this the "Slaughter Solution," and described it as an unprecedented maneuver that will allow Democrats to enact reform without casting a vote on it. The reality is that this maneuver (known more technically as a "self executing rule") has a long history, and has been used more frequently by Republicans than by Democrats.
And from Media Matters -- Right-wing media attack "Slaughter solution" as unprecedented, but GOP "set new records" for its use:
Media conservatives have falsely characterized a legislative proposal reportedly being considered to finalize health care reform in the House as unprecedented, undemocratic, and unconstitutional. But the rule in question is an accepted part of House procedure, and Congress repeatedly used the rule under GOP leadership, according to a former GOP staff director of the House Rules Committee. [...]
Republicans "set new records" for use of rule
Wolfensberger: Republicans "set new records" for using self-executing rule. Also in his 2006 Roll Call column, Wolfensberger stated that the Republican Party "set new records" for its use of the self-executing rule:
Self-executing rules began innocently enough in the 1970s as a way of making technical corrections to bills. But, as the House became more partisan in the 1980s, the majority leadership was empowered by its caucus to take all necessary steps to pass the party's bills. This included a Rules Committee that was used more creatively to devise procedures to all but guarantee policy success. The self-executing rule was one such device to make substantive changes in legislation while ensuring majority passage.
When Republicans were in the minority, they railed against self-executing rules as being anti-deliberative because they undermined and perverted the work of committees and also prevented the House from having a separate debate and vote on the majority's preferred changes. From the 95th to 98th Congresses (1977-84), there were only eight self-executing rules making up just 1 percent of the 857 total rules granted. However, in Speaker Tip O'Neill's (D-Mass.) final term in the 99th Congress, there were 20 self-executing rules (12 percent). In Rep. Jim Wright's (D-Texas) only full term as Speaker, in the 100th Congress, there were 18 self-executing rules (17 percent). They reached a high point of 30 under Speaker Tom Foley (D-Wash.) during the final Democratic Congress, the 103rd, for 22 percent of all rules.
When Republicans took power in 1995, they soon lost their aversion to self-executing rules and proceeded to set new records under Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). There were 38 and 52 self-executing rules in the 104th and 105th Congresses (1995-1998), making up 25 percent and 35 percent of all rules, respectively. Under Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) there were 40, 42 and 30 self-executing rules in the 106th, 107th and 108th Congresses (22 percent, 37 percent and 22 percent, respectively). Thus far in the 109th Congress, self-executing rules make up about 16 percent of all rules.
On April 26 , the Rules Committee served up the mother of all self-executing rules for the lobby/ethics reform bill. The committee hit the trifecta with not one, not two, but three self-executing provisions in the same special rule.
As always as Steve said, IOKIYAR. These hypocrites never seem to fall short of issues to clutch their pearls over when the Democrats dare to act the same way they did.