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Republicans Use ‘Deem and Pass’

David Kurtz reports, “House Republicans are about to use “deem and pass” — a.k.a., a self-executing rule — which you may recall was the same legislative mechanism they decried last year during the health care reform debate as a threat to all that is right and good about America.”

Is this hypocritical?  Of course!

But it’s hardly surprising.  Not only do politicians seldom give up power once predecessors successfully claim it (see, for example, Obama’s Gitmo signing statements) but, more importantly, there’s a not-entirely-unreasonable unwillingness to unilaterally disarm.   Thus, Republicans used the same outrageous procedures they railed against in the Bork hearings to oppose controversial Democratic nominees, citing the Bork precedent!

Obviously, this creates a vicious cycle.  Unless a party in charge renounces a bad practice and actually abstains from using it, it will never change.  But, given the very real fear that the other party would simply dig up their old tricks once they inevitably resume control, there’s not much incentive to be the first mover.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. PJ says:

    “Unless a party in charge renounces a bad practice and actually abstains from using it, it will never change. ”

    Would that be like when after the Republicans tried to impeach Clinton, the Democrats promised not to impeach Bush? And now the Republicans won’t ever, ever try to impeach Obama?

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  2. James Joyner says:

    @PJ:

    First, read the next sentence: “But, given the very real fear that the other party would simply dig up their old tricks once they inevitably resume control, there’s not much incentive to be the first mover.”

    Second, I actually don’t think we’ll see impeachment charges filed against Obama unless he truly does something impeachment worthy — which I think highly unlikely.

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  3. PJ says:

    Yes, and despite that there wasn’t really any incentive to do so, the Democrats still made the promise. Maybe they thought that the Republicans would act as grownups, who knows.

    Consider the blocked defense funding bill, blocking the 9/11 workers health care bill, and now the talk about not raising the debt ceiling, the Republicans aren’t acting like grownups, impeachment is coming.

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  4. Derrick says:

    Agreed. Darrell Issa has already declared this the most “corrupt” President in history, which considering his extensive knowledge of the Nixon years, the Tea Pot Dome Scandal of Harding and Grant’s complicity in the Whiskey Rig Scandal is saying something. If you think those are something, wait to we get testimony that …gasp… Obama passed Health Care Reform against the wishes of the Tea Party. I’m putting my money on Oct 20, 201 as the first Impeachment Hearing.

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  5. c.red says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but this procedure was used by the Republican House several times pre 2007. The Democratic House considered using the procedure once for the healthcare bill, got lambasted by hysterical right wingers and promptly shelved it and the Republican Party gets back into power and promptly dusts it off and makes it an integral part of the House Rules for their term.

    How do you get everyone does it or they are all corrupt from that? There does not seem to be any equivalency here and if you are trying to find it you are only fooling yourself.

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  6. wr says:

    Hmm. I waiting for Zels and the other Fox Footsoldiers to start screaming about what an abomination this is, just as they did when Hannity told them to a couple months back. Since all these constitutional scholars assure us they never watch Fox news and come to their opinions independently, then their objections to the procedure must trump party loyalty.

    Zels? Bit? Floyd?

    Bueller?

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  7. Steve Plunk says:

    Setting temporary budget levels for part of a year is more akin to housekeeping while Obamacare was ground breaking legislation that no one had read completely. Why can’t anyone see the difference and understand why outrage is limited to the Obamacare passage?

    BTW, wr, I don’t watch Fox so don’t play that game so often played here. This is not about party loyalty, it’s about understanding matters and what doesn’t. Deem and pass was designed for this sort of thing.

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  8. mantis says:

    Why can’t anyone see the difference and understand why outrage is limited to the Obamacare passage?

    Because we know that’s absolute crap. The Democrats passed a budget resolution last July using “Deem and Pass” and Republicans went berserk, with all of them voting against it. They did not use the rule to pass health care reform.

    Go sell your BS where people don’t know any better.

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