House Abruptly Passes Medicare Pay Fix By Voice Vote

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March 27, 2014 12:38 p.m.

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.

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