“If those people think they’re only going to vote on this once, they’re nuts,” Senator Hatch said.
The problem with this statement is that it is unlikely that the House or Senate will have to vote on the Bill again. If the House “deems” the Senate Bill passed and votes on amendments (“reconciliation”), Speaker Pelosi will certify that the House has “passed” the Senate version of the bill and a group of amendments to it as a separate entities. The amendments will be sent to the Senate and the original Senate Bill will be sent to the President to sign. Voila, the United States will have socialized health care. No need for more votes. Again, this is if the House makes use of the “deem and pass” shenanigans that have been threatened.
Certainly none of the Senate Democrats will then…push the House amendments – after this bruising battle, none will want to, and given that the House will have passed the Senate version of the Bill, they will be satisfied with the result. Modifications and changes will not be brought up (except for perhaps the so-called “Doc fix”) until after November (but before the new House and Senate are sworn in in 2011), if ever.
Senator Hatch may be right to think that if the amendments are to be voted on, it will take more than one vote, but in all likelihood no one will bring up the amendments and the House Democrats who counted on them will be left hanging out to dry.
There are problems with the scenario, big ones, Constitutional ones, with the “deem and pass” procedure. But if the House is going to use “deem and pass” anyway, it is no more risky to just send the “deemed passed” Senate Bill to the President to sign right away. It has the advantage of putting socialized health care on the track, and putting the entire subject to bed until after the elections.