The "Deeming" Debate, Get Over It

Oh please, if it weren't for the mess in the Senate there would be no need for "deeming" in the House.

If the Senate could have passed health legislation by a simple majority, its bill would have been closer to the more liberal House version and Speaker Nancy Pelosi would not have to be considering subterfuge to win passage.

But here we are. To gain the 60-vote super majority overcoming Republican filibuster threats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had to dilute his bill to please conservative Democrats -- so much so that House Democratic leaders are having trouble winning support among their own.

Thus emerges the "deeming" plan, which allows a vote on fixes to the Senate bill that includes a rule deeming the underlying bill as passed in the House without actually conducting a roll call on it, and giving members cover to say they never voted for it.

The fixer bill, called reconciliation, can then be passed by a simple majority in the Senate.

So, let's remember that all of this chicanery in the House, which will surely make Democrats look bad, might be necessary because the Senate's minority party, the GOP, used the filibuster threat to prevent a simple-majority passage of a bill that most senators would have supported.

At the end of the day, even if this convoluted process is how the health overhaul becomes law, it was still supported by a majority of the nation's elected lawmakers in Congress. And that's democracy.

Craig blogs daily for CQ Politics