House Abruptly Passes Medicare Pay Fix By Voice Vote

AP

The Republican-led House abruptly and unexpectedly passed a Medicare physician payment fix Thursday by an unrecorded voice vote, amid questions about whether the bill had the votes to clear the chamber.

It would avert a 24 percent pay cut to doctors that was set to take effect April 1.

After temporarily recessing the House, GOP leaders emerged from a closed-door meeting and called up the bill for a voice vote. A recorded vote can be demanded by one-fifth of members present in the chamber, but such an objection wasn’t mounted. So the bill was subsequently declared passed.

A House Republican leadership aide said Democratic leaders were informed in advance of the voice vote, and therefore given the opportunity to object. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) signed off on the GOP leadership’s decision to pass the bill by a voice vote, according to a senior Democratic aide.

Numerous lawmakers griped afterward about the decision to use a voice vote.

The Senate is expected to take up the bill.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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