Kenneth Cuccinelli, the Republican Attorney General for Virginia, has sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi warning her not to use deem-and-pass as an attempt to shield her members from having their votes recorded in favor of passing the Senate health care bill.
Cuccinelli warned Pelosi that her parliamentary trick might be unconstitutional, laying the groundwork for a Supreme Court challenge if Pelosi goes through with a vote on a ‘rule’, which would pass the Senate bill using deem-and-pass, rather than a straight up-and-down vote on the Senate bill, as has been promised by Pelosi and President Obama:
Virginia’s attorney general urged U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi not to use an arcane parliamentary tactic to pass health care reform without a direct vote, warning in a letter Wednesday that the move might be unconstitutional.
Republican Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, who last month went to court to oppose the federal plan to regulate greenhouse gases, said in the letter that using the so-called “deem and pass” rule would expose President Barack Obama’s signature domestic initiative to a constitutional challenge.
Cuccinelli joins other Republicans who have opposed the possible maneuver, which both political parties have used in the past. Under the procedure, the Senate-passed health bill would be “deemed” to have passed if House members vote in favor of a rule governing another bill.
“Based upon media interviews and statements which I have seen, you are considering this approach because it might somehow shield members of Congress from taking a recorded vote on an overwhelmingly unpopular Senate bill,” Cuccinelli wrote in the letter to the Democratic speaker. “This is an improper purpose under the bicameralism requirements of Article I, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution, one of the purposes of which is to make our representatives fully accountable for their votes.”