Several sources are now reporting that the “deem and pass” strategy for passing the Senate health care bill out of the House of Representatives is now dead. According to The Hill, “Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), one of the chief deputy whips, Rep. Melvin Watt (D-N.C.), and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), all [confirm] that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) won’t use the tactic of deem and pass for healthcare reform.”
This followed a heated meeting of the House Rules Committee in which several Democrat members said they could not support the “deem and pass” strategy. “Deem and pass,” which has become known as “demon pass” in tea party and conservative circles, is a controversial parliamentary maneuver in which the Senate version of the health care reform bill would be “deemed passed” without a direct vote.
At the same time, tens of thousands of protesters arrived today at Capitol Hill to voice opposition to the health care reform bill. Following a large rally on the West Lawn of the Capitol, the protesters attempted to meet with their congressional representatives. The Washington Examiner is reporting that many of the protesters are being denied admittance to congressional offices.
Shortly afterward, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced that House Democrats now believe they have the votes to pass the bill after an agreement with the Senate on changes to be passed separately through the reconciliation bill.