Critical Condition

Buying Time on Capitol Hill

Washington — Rep. David Dreier (R., Calif.), the ranking member of the House Rules Committee, is taking on the “Slaughter rule,” and pushing the committee’s chairwoman, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D., N.Y.)  to move health-care deliberations to a bigger venue.

In a testy committee meeting this afternoon, Dreier said if a new venue isn’t picked, then cameras need to be installed in the cramped rules room at the Capitol, “so the American people have the opportunity to see our wonderful committee in action.” He also made sure to point out the numerous available television jacks in the room. Democrats on the committee did not like the suggestion. “Oh mercy,” said Slaughter. “You weren’t promised a different room.” One C-SPAN camera, she added, is enough.

Besides the partisan back and forth, the purpose of the session was to suspend the rules until Sunday, March 21, to give Democrats more time to scramble for votes. In the meantime, Democrats are adding bills to the docket to keep members voting and in Washington. GOP staffers call the efforts “fluff” and “filler” to buy time. Democratic staffers say the CBO score of the health-care reconciliation package is what’s causing the delay.

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