Deem and Pass Revisited

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


I’ve been mulling over the “deem and pass” strategy a bit more since I wrote about it earlier this morning, and I think it’s worth saying again what a bad idea this is. Not because it’s unconstitutional or unprecedented, but just because the political optics are so horrible. Here’s my best crack at a graphic demonstration. First, take a look at a likely Republican attack ad this fall:

Cue ominous music. Liberal Joe Smith voted for a bloated, big-government takeover of healthcare that spends trillions, balloons the national debt, and puts a federal bureaucrat between you and your doctor [etc.]

And here’s the version if the bill moves through the House via deem and pass:

Cue ominous music. Liberal Joe Smith voted for a bloated, big-government takeover of healthcare that spends trillions, balloons the national debt, and puts a federal bureaucrat between you and your doctor….Cue even more ominous music….and then he tried to pull the wool over your eyes by pretending he didn’t really vote for it at all. Joe Smith: not just a big-spending liberal, a contemptible, sneaky [add other words from the Newt Gingrich lexicon here] big-spending liberal.

I know that House Democrats aren’t much interested in sniping like this from the peanut gallery, but they really need to man up on healthcare. Memories are short, and deem-and-pass probably won’t matter a lot by November. But it will matter a bit, and that bit will be entirely negative. Best to bite the bullet and cast your vote proudly.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate