Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Deem and Pass Misunderstood

Over at the Atlantic, Marc Ambinder has a very helpful post explaining the self-executing maneuver known as deem and pass.  Ambinder's post helps one understand why the constitutional argument on this issue is a bit muddled.
Ambinder notes that deem and pass is essentially taking one vote but passing two separate bills.  That is the basis of my argument in this post.  This seems to be a case where the Speaker of the House shot herself in the foot.  The manner in which she brought up the maneuver and her explanation permitted the media to improperly characterize the maneuver.  Of course one a prominent legal academic begins to question the constitutionality of the parliamentary maneuver, the ideological spin machines go into overdrive.

The one issue that puzzles me genuinely is the apparent fact many people, both conservatives and liberals, are uncomfortable with deem and pass but are quite fine with the filibuster.  House Democrats are having to jump through these parliamentary hoops because they cannot get their preferred bill through the Senate even though Democrats are the majority in both chambers.  I can understand why one would object to deem and pass.  But I'm not quite getting how one can be entirely comfortable with the filibuster, but find deem and pass distasteful.

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