HEALTH MOMENTUM – AT 5:23 P.M. ET: Democrats have dropped the controversial "deem and pass" gimmick from their arsenal, another sign that they think they have the votes to pass their health plan tomorrow. From Fox:
House Democrats on Saturday decided against using a controversial tactic to pass the Senate's version of the health care bill without an actual vote.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-MD., said he believes Democrats have enough votes to pass the legislation.
The decision capped an ongoing discussion on whether to use a so-called "deem and pass" strategy that would allow House members to approve the Senate version of health care bill without an actual vote before taking up a second "fix-it" resolution, known as reconciliation.
The stage is now set for three big votes on Sunday: the first to bring the "fix-it" bill to the House floor. The second on the bill. Then the final vote would be on the Senate bill itself.
If the final bill passes the House, the Senate plans to take it up next week.
Taking away "deem and pass" also takes away a powerful Republican issue and a possible basis for lawsuits.
Harry Reid is claiming, at this hour, that he has majority support in the Senate to pass reconciliation measures.
If Dem claims are accurate, this is essentially over, with an Obama victory. But Dems have made claims before. I'd wait for the action, especially in the Senate, where Republicans will try to bring the bill down with objections.
March 20, 2010