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Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.

Finally, we have a clear explanation of “deem and pass” from Jill Poke, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“You know, the Constitution says, ‘All legislative Powers … shall be vested in a Congress,’” Poke told us, “but it doesn’t say Congress has to vote to pass a law.”

“It’s true. We looked it up,” said Poke. “The only instances in which the Constitution says the ‘yeas and nays’ must be recorded are votes on overriding presidential vetoes. And it says the yeas and nays on any question shall be recorded ‘at the desire of one-fifth of those present.’ But it also says the two houses can make their own rules. So if the rules say a law may be deemed passed, that’s the way it is.”

Thus when Pelosi said she might employ the maneuver, technically she wasn’t violating her oath to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution. The deem-and-pass process allows the House to adopt its “improvements” to a Senate bill, then deem the entire thing passed, without voting on the whole package.

Pelosi commented, “It’s more insider and process-oriented than most people want to know. But I like it, because people don’t have to vote on the Senate bill.”

Poke agreed that the process generally is used only for minor matters, not for “comprehensive” bills approaching 3,000 pages and fundamentally altering the nation.

“The speaker knows this is a bigger deem-and-pass issue than usual,” said Poke, “but the idea to use the process came to her in a vision while she was meditating on the people’s stupidity … let me amend that: While she was meditating on the people’s occasional inability to know what’s good for them, an angel of light appeared and declared that having Democrats adopt the Senate bill without voting on it would allow representatives to return to their districts and say:

“‘Health reform bill?’ What health reform bill? I didn’t vote for any health reform bill.’

“The speaker, demonstrating the kind of intelligence for which she has become so widely known, said to herself, ‘What a fantastic concept. We can do the people’s will without their even knowing it’s their will, which eventually they will, if we only have the will.’ Or something like that.”

We noted that the Washington Post had editorialized, “Democrats who vote for the package will be tagged with supporting the Senate bill in any event. Why not be straightforward about it?”

“The speaker would love to be straightforward about it,” said Poke, “but the electorate is too stupid … Let me rephrase that: The electorate is too confused by Republican scare tactics to realize that expenditures approaching a trillion dollars will lower the federal government’s annual deficit while it makes their health insurance less expensive.

“The people are too befuddled by the ‘party of no’ to realize that vast, new federal bureaucracies will end waste and fraud, and expand personal choice. They have been unnecessarily frightened by the fact they will pay 10 years of taxes for six years of benefits.

“They have been brainwashed into thinking that language allowing the use of federal funds for abortions actually means what it says. They think that cutting payments to their Medicare Advantage plans is a bad thing.

“They have been fooled into opposing a bill that will do so much good for them, and that kind of trickery is just unconscionable.”

We asked, “But wouldn’t ‘deem and pass’ be trickery?”

Poke tossed her head defiantly. “When we use trickery, it’s for the good of the people,” she said, “not to mention the good of incumbents.”


Frederick Reeve of Michigan responds to last week’s item on the cost of transplanting bushes to protect the valley elderberry longhorn beetle. Mr. Reeve reports elderberry bushes are found in such profusion in his home state, they “grow wild in the median of the freeway.”

It would seem that the solution to the plight of the “endangered” beetle would be to transport a number of the longhorns, male and female, to the Wolverine State, where there is plenty of habitat.

It probably would be cheaper than spending $40,000 to transplant two of the shrubs. On the other hand, Michigan might be forced to erect “beetle crossing” signs to protect the insects in the median greenery.

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