Congressman Dent called this "deem and pass" an "arrogant manipulation of our legislative process in order to shelter their members from casting a straight up-or-down vote." He noted that the Capitol switchboard is jammed with angry calls from people who compare the process to cheating. "They are using procedure to avoid discussing policy," Dent said, referring to the tactic as an act of "political cowardice."
Somehow, GOP leaders have forced a floor vote today on rejecting the Slaughter rule, although Dent candidly admitted it will likely fail.
As of this moment, the Lehigh Valley's elected Representative in Congress still has not seen the actual reconciliation language that he will be asked to vote on by week's end? He has not yet seen the latest CBO numbers on cost, which were just released.
But he made clear that he opposes the package being foisted on the House because it will raise income taxes by a half trillion dollars, will slash Medicare by a half trillion dollars and result in an average $2300 tax increase. "This is not the reform people want," Dent added.
So does Dent prefer the status quo? No. He prefers an incremental approach to health care insurance reform, dealing with separate issues like malpractice, and pre-existing conditions.
Speaking of political cowardice, Dent also had some harsh words for his opponent John Callahan, who has yet to take a position on health insurance reform, which Dent called "the most consequential piece of legislation in our generation."
"He is hiding. No more hiding behind his campaign manager," Dent noted, adding that "leaders lead" while Callahan is a "follower of Nancy Pelosi."
Dent then paid a rare compliment to former opponent Sam Bennett, pointing out that she at least took positions on the issues.
"That worked out well for her, didn't it?" zinged Morning Call reporter Scott Kraus.
Dent then told a story about a meeting with LV auto dealers a few weeks ago, who are losing millions as a result of the recession. Senatorial candidate Pat Toomey was there, and addressed their concerns. But when it was Callahan's turn to speak, he was unwilling to discuss their concerns or any other national issue. He instead spoke about the architecture at the Sands Casino.
Looks like Callahan would fit right in with Pelosi. Is that what you want?
Update: Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli has just told Speaker Pelosi that the “deem and pass,” or “self-executing rule” procedure is unconstitutional. Virgina has already passed a law prohibiting the federal government from imposing an individual mandate on Virginia citizens.
Update #2: As predicted by Congressman Dent this morning, an anti-Slaughter Rule resolution has been narrowly defeated in the House, 222-203. Twenty-eight Democrats joined every Republican in voting against this procedural manever.