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Dems Do Away With Deem-and-Pass

Two votes planned on reconciliation bill and Senate bill.

3:30 PM, Mar 20, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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I just got back from a Tea Party protest and an anti-war protest (And, they think the righties are the unreasonable ones???), so I'm catching up on healthcare news.

Dems Do Away With Deem-and-Pass

The latest is that the House will push ahead with two real votes— one on reconciliation and one on the Senate bill. They're likely to vote on the reconciliation bill first, and there is reportedly a letter from more than 50 senators promising to vote for the House reconciliation bill. Steny Hoyer said the Senate bill, once voted on by the House will go directly to the president for his signature.

"The whip is here, but clearly we believe we have the votes," Hoyer said when asked whether they have the votes to make it happen.

I've had the feeling this week, as much as I hate it, that the chances of defeating the House vote this weekend were lower than 50/50, but I'm not sure I see where she gets all the votes she needs if she was scrambling for Stupak folks last night. Now she's Mrs. Tough Guy and will not be dealing with him (after the deal didn't come together and the pro-choice women in the House likely reamed her).

"There's not going to be any deal made with Mr. Stupak...there's been no deal whatsoever. He's been told that his language is not going to be added to the legislation," she told me this morning.

The White House that wants the government in charge of the health-care system, meanwhile, seems to have finally settled on a place to meet with the Democratic Caucus, on its third try. Obama was first supposed to meet with Democrats on the Hill, then in the White House, and now they're in the Capitol Hill Visitors' Center. Sure, have at health care, guys. I'm sure running a layered, impossibly complex system of medical care delivery with private and public components will be easier than setting up a meeting with your own Caucus.

Obama said, on his way in the door, "We're gonna get this done," to loud applause. Gee, where have I heard that before?

They are certainly sending the signal that this is a done deal, but it's so close that I wouldn't believe the picture of inevitability they're painting. Don't get off the phones, folks.

Update: Watch the Obama meeting online, here.

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