Republicans Advance Ryan Budget Using An ‘Unconstitutional Legislative Trick’

In 2010, Republicans accused Democrats of “rushing their massive government takeover of health care through Congress” and considering an “unconstitutional legislative trick” called deem and pass for advancing the measure.

“We’ve seen all week, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader [Harry] Reid continuing to scheme and plot trying to find some way to get their big government takeover of health care enacted,” then-Republican Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said in January of 2010, setting the tone for the Republican outrage. Shortly thereafter, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) introduced a resolution stating “that the House disapproves of the malfeasant manner in which the Democratic Leadership has thereby discharged the duties of their offices” and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) took to the floor and accused Democrats of “greasing the skids for an abuse of the budget procedure.” “The arrogance, the paternalism, the condescension to the American people is just breathtaking,” Ryan declared. “This is not just a simple fixer bill either. This is the linchpin for healthcare.”

Well, what a difference two years make. Despite vociferously opposing “deem and pass” in 2010 — a tactic the Democrats ultimately abandoned — Republicans are now relying on the procedure to advance their budget resolution. Yesterday, the GOP claimed that “deem and pass” was necessary to “set in motion a 2013 fiscal plan in the absence of an action or agreement with the other chamber” and approved the measure in a vote of 228–184:

GOP leaders are advancing the House Republican budget and its proposed changes to Medicare despite opposition in the Democratic-led Senate by using used a relatively obscure procedural move — tucking it alongside an unrelated bill that would allow the importation of trophy polar bears.


In considering the sportsmen’s hunting legislation, the House approved a provision Tuesday that essentially “deems” the budget from Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) passed, even though the blueprint with its tax breaks and cuts to domestic programs was dead on arrival in the Senate.

Public opinion surveys show that Americans overwhelmingly oppose the House budget blueprint and its changes to the Medicare program. A United Technologies/National Journal poll from March found that 64 percent believe that “Medicare should continue as it is today, with the government … paying doctors and hospitals directly for the services they provide to seniors,” including “a solid 56 percent to 30 percent majority of Republicans.”