No one cares whether the House passed the bill or “deemed” the bill passed. People don’t pay attention to whether you voted using the passive voice or not. But by falling back on this bizarre locution, the House signals to voters that it thinks it’s passing a bad bill. Some members of the House may indeed think that. I disagree with them. But for their own sake, if they’re going to let this bill become law, they’d better pretend they agree with me.
Imagine the ads. “My opponent thought the health bill such a bad piece of legislation that he wouldn’t even vote for it. But nor was he brave enough to stand up to Nancy Pelosi and say no! Vote for the guy who’s not a wimp.” And what’s our hypothetical House members response? “No, you don’t understand. I only refused to vote yes or no because I was hoping to pass a small package of amendments and was worried that the Senate wouldn’t act on them fast enough?” You have to be kidding me.
Oh, and this is nothing new. In fact, Republicans set new records for its use – but you’ll never know that from the wailing and gnashing of teeth today.