It’s hard not to laugh at this. The House Republican leadership needed to pass the annual Medicare doc fix, but they didn’t want to raise taxes or cut other spending to pay for it. Nor did they want anyone to be forced to go on record voting for a bill that wasn’t paid for. What to do? Answer:
- Call a recess.
- Huddle up with Democratic leaders and get their buy-in for a quick voice vote.
- Do not—repeat: do not—tell tea party types about this.
- Get back out on the floor pronto and call up a bill that doesn’t pay for the doc fix at all. Just put it on the ol’ deficit spending credit card.
- Pass it fast before conservative Republicans realize what’s going on and demand a roll-call vote.
- Hightail it out of Dodge.
Martin Longman has the whole story here. It’s pretty hilarious.
UPDATE: Just to make this even better, the C-SPAN video of the proceedings makes it pretty clear that the voice vote didn’t even go in favor of the bill. At least, not by the two-thirds margin required to suspend the rules and pass the bill pronto. Truly banana republic territory.