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US House Considers Using Little-Known Rule to Pass Health Care Bill

The US House of Representatives is considering using a little-known rule to try to pass the momentous health care bill, which has already made it through the Senate. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore reports.

The measure is called the “Self-executing rule,” or the “deem and pass” rule, and it allows the House to pass the Senate version without voting on its own, separate bill. The House would vote only on what changes it wanted to make to the Senate version, but in doing so, it would be accepting the overall Senate bill.

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill voted for the bill in December. She told reporters this morning she doesn’t fully understand the rules of the House, and would like to see a more traditional procedure followed.

“It seems to me they ought to vote on it. Just vote on it. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re gonna vote on the tweaks to the bill that reconcile the two versions of the bill, between the House and Senate versions. And I don’t understand why they needed to use this procedural tactic, that somehow that’s going to make it look like they’re not really voting for it. I don’t get that,” she said.

The Self-executing rule was first used by the US House of Representatives during the Great Depression. It has been used by both parties over the decades for various reasons, one of which is to ensure the passage of a bill.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.