Capitol Hill Bureau Chief
Good morning, Capitolists! An item in today's Washington Post
by the intrepid Paul Kane and Lori Montgomery details a possible strategy contemplated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called a "self-executing rule," which would let the House amend the Senate health care bill without ever voting to pass it. In layman's terms, House Democrats would get the benefit of doing something without having to bear the pain of doing it.
Why didn't we think of that? If you can't find us later today, we're out filing a patent request for a "self-executing four-mile jog" and a "self-executing six-week diet."
Until then, here's what's making news in Washington today:
- Sausage Making 201.
The squeamish among you should avert your eyes, but the rest should read on to learn more about the self-executing rule, which the speaker said yesterday is an attractive option for House Democrats who still have serious reservations about the Senate bill. "It's more insider and process-oriented than most people want to know," Pelosi said. "But I like it because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill." If, and that's a big if, the rules committee approves a self-executing rule tomorrow, the House would still have to vote on the package of fixes to the Senate bill, and so would the Senate.
- Welcome to Washington, Patriots!
The Tea Party crowd is back in town to remind Democrats of Rep. Michele Bachmann's clarion call, "Get your hands off my health care!" But Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland is telling his Democratic colleagues to plan ahead, make time to meet with their visitors and generally kill the protesters with kindness. In a memo to his caucus, he adds, "Consider having some light snacks, H2O, and coffee available."
- It Ain't Pretty, It's Our Budget.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, OMB Director Peter Orszag and White House economic adviser Christina Romer will appear before the House Appropriations Committee today to talk about the short-term and long-term outlooks for the federal budget and U.S. economy. The brave can live-stream it from the committee's Web site at 10 a.m.
- Obama Back in Town.
The president is back in Washington for closed-door meetings after a trip to Strongsville, Ohio, where he stumped for health care reform. He gave Rep. Dennis Kucinich a ride back on Air Force One, where Kucinich said he looked forward to hearing what the president had to say on reform. Kucinich was a no vote on the House health bill last year.
- Never Mind.
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman has scrapped his plan to fire all city employees and re-hire them for fewer hours, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal
. In an unusual level of candor for any elected official, Goodman said,
"If in fact I continued on the course of action which I suggested, I could very well be putting the city in a position of real jeopardy."