In their latest attempt to derail health care reform, conservatives are attacking the Democrats' preferred procedural strategy for passing the legislation. The GOP is trying to put Democratic leaders on the defensive about using what's known as a self-executing rule to push health reform through, with House Minority Leader John Boehner dubbing it, "the ultimate in Washington power grabs."
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The issue, as I alluded to in this post, is Democrats' tentative decision to use a rule that would allow them to pass both the Senate health care bill and the reconciliation fix with a single vote. Republicans have dubbed this the "Slaughter Solution," and described it as an unprecedented maneuver that will allow Democrats to enact reform without casting a vote on it. The reality is that this maneuver (known more technically as a "self executing rule") has a long history, and has been used more frequently by Republicans than by Democrats.
That doesn't mean every Democrat is on board. Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA)--a crucial swing vote on health care reform, told me and a handful of other reporters this afternoon that he disapproves of the "Byzantine" maneuver.