A group of conservative House Republicans put a Medicare “doc fix” bill in mortal peril with their objections – but then acquiesced to a plan from GOP leadership to pass it without a vote.
The vote was repeatedly delayed this morning as top Republicans scrambled to find the necessary votes for the legislation. Making the problem more difficult: the bill was brought to the floor under suspension of the rules, meaning it needed a 2/3 majority rather than the normal 1/2 majority.
Huddling with leadership in an ornate room off the House floor, a group of GOP lawmakers who form the “Doctor’s Caucus” faced a choice: would you object if the bill was brought up for a voice vote?
Non-controversial measures are sometimes passed by voice vote, but if even one member objects, a recorded vote will be called, putting every member on record about where he stood.
The Republican doctors had refused to vote for the bill, but their objections were apparently not serious enough to object to the voice vote, as they signaled they would let the bill sail through.
“The members who opposed the bill were briefed and told the bill was going to come up under voice vote,” a leadership aide told Breitbart News.
The GOP Doctors Caucus is co-chaired by Reps. Phil Gingrey of Georgia and Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) of Tennessee.
Top House Democrats also approached their members who were opposed to the bill and made the same request. Like the Republicans, the Democratic critics gave their nod of approval to the tactic.
The maneuver wasn’t without its critics, however. Minutes after the bill passed, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) went to the House floor to denounce the tactic, saying it reminded him of how Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) used to rule the House when she was Speaker.
The bill in question will raise Medicare payments to doctors above the rates proscribed in a formula established in 1997 to keep spending low. Congress annually overrides the cost-saving formula.