John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Pelosi to Deploy a Wide Variety of Tactics to Win Vote

Posted on March 15, 2010
(Washington DC)  JMU News Service reports that House Speaker is considering a variety of different procedural and intimidation tactics in order to win passage of the President’s health care bill later this week.  The tactics, according to well-informed sources, include hiring a voodoo specialist, jerry-rigging the voting-machines on the Democratic side to give off an electric shock when the “nay” button is pushed, and employing never-used parliamentary maneuvers, including one called the “olde three-card monte”, and another being dubbed the “close enough for government-work” rule.

According to sources, the voodoo specialist has already been casting spells on Democrats who have said or have voted against the health care bill in the past.  Some have hinted that Eric Massa’s abrupt resignation was a sign that the voodoo campaign was already working.  “Can you imagine how shocking it must have been for Massa to think he was being whipped in the shower by a naked Rahm Emanual, only to find out that he was the victim of a voodoo attack,” the Democratic source giggled.

Others say that jerry-rigging the voting machines was under active consideration but that the technical details were very hard to sort out.  The big problem with the scheme is that the Democratic members may have to vote no on a Republican procedural motion and then have to turn around and vote yes.  It would be very difficult, and potentially very risky to turn the “shocker” on and then off again in the space of only five minutes, which is the time it takes to go from one vote to another.   Another problem with that scheme is that members often vote on both sides of the floor, and there is no way to keep Democrats to voting only on the Democratic side of the aisle.

The “three-card monte” parliamentary maneuver is something dreamed up by a top aide to the Speaker, George Kundanis, who is a master at these types of rules.  Based on the game three-card monte, the rule allows for a rapid succession of amendments that must be voted quickly, giving the Speaker maximum authority to shift to an amendment that she wants when she feels that the members have lost their concentration, and she can sneak her version in past the body as a whole.

The “close enough for government-work” rule is considered the House version of the nuclear option.  According the sources, the rule stipulates that a simple majority does not actually have to vote for the final bill, as long as it is within a few votes.  Based on the old saying, “hey, it’s close enough for government work,” the concept is that if Pelosi is about to get anything more than 210 votes, well, hey, it’s close enough for government work.

There was no comment from Pelosi’s office about these various tactics.

Editor’s Note:  The JMU News Service is a subsidiary of Just Made Up Enterprises, the leading source for news of all kinds.

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