In Desperate Times, Dems Gain 1 HC Vote

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WASHINGTON -- As Democratic leaders continue to pressure wavering lawmakers to throw their support behind health care legislation, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, announced Wednesday he will now vote yes for the bill.

The Ohio Democrat opposed the bill when the House voted on it last year, but has now switched sides on the issue.

"If we stay riveted on this health care debate and don't get out of it at all, we've actually created kind of a prison here of our own making," Kucinich said. "I don't want to be a party to that. And so I have taken a debate as far - farther - than anybody else who oppose this bill and who have held the positions that I have about single payer."

Meanwhile, Democrats are considering a controversial measure to pass the health care bill without actually voting on it.

In a health care debate that has introduced Americans into the world of "filibusters" and "reconciliation," there is now a new term: "deem and pass."

This rarely used procedure would allow House members to simply vote on a rule that would "deem" the unpopular Senate health care bill "passed."

Consequently, House members wouldn't technically have to vote on the Senate bill they really don't like in the first place. They would then pass their changes to the Senate measure and if that passed then - presto! They just passed the original Senate bill and the changes all in one.

Click play for an updated report with CBN News Washington Correspondent John Jessup.

Also, Pat Robertson weighed in on the Democrats' "Slaughter Solution." Click here for his comments.  Is this move constitutional? Click here more insight from David Brody.

GOP Lawmakers Cry Foul

The political maneuvering has some Republican lawmakers blowing a gasket.

"This is the vaunted transparency that the president promised?" Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis, questioned. "The arrogance, the paternalism, the condescension to the American people is just breathtaking."

But the White House says that's not so.

"I'm sure there are those that will want to make this about the legislative process," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said. "I don't think there is any doubt that this will be a final vote on health care."

So how did matters reach this point?

It's simple. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. currently doesn't have enough votes to pass the Senate bill on its own, so she needs to employ more creative means.

She's now in a position of having to put out fires left and right - literally. One camp of liberal Democrats are against taxes on high-end health plans that will affect union members, moderate Democrats are against the price tag, and conservative pro-life Democrats are against the abortion language.

"We will do what is necessary to pass a health care bill to improve quality, lower cost, and make America healthier," Pelosi said.

A Violation of the Constitution?

However, some critics argue Pelosi's potential maneuver may prove unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court has ruled in the past that the House and Senate must pass the same text of the legislation. And according some scholars the Constitution supports the court's decision.

Article 1, section 7 of the U.S. Constitution states, "Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the president of the United States."

With the House not voting on the original Senate legislation and subsequently making changes to the measure, the two bills would not be identical.

"We've heard of not reading bills," Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said. "Not voting on bills, you would think, would be something that would violate the purpose for which the legislative branch was created in the first place."

"It is very likely that even now there are lawyers writing the briefs that will be filed to challenge the use of the slaughter rule if that is what Congress does," said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America.

The tactics also have some Americans angry and near ready to storm the beltway castle.

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CBN News
David Brody

David Brody

CBN News Chief Political Correspondent

David Brody is an Emmy Award-winning veteran news journalist who has interviewed many prominent national figures during his career of nearly 25 years. Currently, David covers the White House and interviews national newsmakers across the country.  Follow David on Twitter @TheBrodyFile and "like" him at