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Republicans now facing Democrats' Deem Team on health-care reform

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Hundreds of conservative activists gathered outside the Capitol on Tuesday morning to urge Congress not to pass the health care legislation.

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Republicans are demanding an up-or-down vote in the House on the full bill -- never mind that they spent the better part of a year opposing an up-or-down vote on that very measure in the Senate. Democrats have come up with the inelegantly named Slaughter Solution of "deeming" and "self-executing rules" -- never mind that they once argued (unsuccessfully) that such a technique was unconstitutional.

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Surely, if Americans were paying attention to the legislative process, they would deem that the whole Congress should be subject to a self-executing rule. But Democrats, after watching Republicans get away with parliamentary shenanigans for months, are calculating that Americans don't care about the process. "The family that I mentioned the other day whose premiums went up 60 percent, they're not focused on process, they're focused on results," Hoyer told reporters Tuesday.

Republicans responded to the Democrats' deeming in the usual way: with more parliamentary gimmicks of their own. The office of Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) sent a memo to GOP lawmakers urging them to "participate in a conference-wide one minute speech event on the House floor." Exploiting a procedure that allows any member of the House to speak for one minute, the Republicans ate up nearly four hours with such speeches on Tuesday.

"Democrat leadership may deem the bill passed without members of Congress even voting on it -- that's un-American," wailed Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.).

"I'd never allow my kids to deem their rooms clean, so it's disgraceful that the majority plans to deem their $2.5 trillion government takeover of health care as passed without a vote," lamented Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.).

Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.) tried a pun on Slaughter's name -- "slaughtering the House rules" -- then added: "I deem back the remainder of my time."

Slaughtering the rules? Well, maybe. But you think that will stop Democrats from finally getting health-care reform passed? You must be deeming.


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