Louise Slaughter (D-NY), House Rules Committee chair makes history. Partisan warfare will rise to new levels. Rep Slaughter loses no matter what she decides.


The national health care debate is complicated, contentious and already has folks across a wide spectrum of beliefs up in arms, whether they support it or oppose it.

Congressional bill “reconciliation” to get national health care passed through Congress was painful enough a procedural maneuver already for some. Now comes a maneuver never before used for an entitlements bill:  the “self-executing rule”.

Pain may be an understatement. Both Democrats and Republicans will hold one specific individual responsible for whether the “self-executing rule” can be used: Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY), who chairs the House Rules Committee, has been asked by Speaker Pelosi to rule whether the “self-executing rule” can be used to pass the health care reform bill in the House without actually anyone voting on it.

Listen to any news outlet today and you will hear how Speaker Pelosi wants to use this procedure to “deem” the health care bill passed — no vote required.

It all hangs on a decision by Representative Slaughter. If she says ‘no’ then unionists have said that they will come after her in the 2010 elections. If she says ‘yes’ then there is no doubt that her life will be total misery as both the Republicans and a wide variety of others come after her in the 2010 elections. She loses either way.

Definition of “Self-Executing Rule” (2006)

It is a “two-for-one” procedure. This means that when the House adopts a rule it also simultaneously agrees to dispose of a separate matter, which is specified in the rule itself. For instance, self-executing rules may stipulate that a discrete policy proposal is deemed to have passed the House and been incorporated in the bill to be taken up. The effect: neither in the House nor in the Committee of the Whole will lawmakers have an opportunity to amend or to vote separately on the “self-executed” provision. It was automatically agreed to when the House passed the rule. Rules of this sort contain customary, or “boilerplate,” language, such as: “The amendment printed in [section 2 of this resolution or in part 1 of the report of the Committee on Rules accompanying this resolution] shall be considered as adopted in the House and in the Committee of the Whole.”

Traditional Use: Originally, this type of rule was used to expedite House action in disposing of Senate amendments to House-passed bills.

Use of this rule will have the practical effect of turning Congress from being a battleground to almost civil war in working together.

Learn more about the history and interpretations of usage behind the “Self-Executing Rule”: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=congressional+self-executing+rule


This post by Bill Golden, aka Bill4DogCatcher.com, an independent observer of American political life, economics, and workforce issues.

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