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Fact check: Bachmann gets it wrong on the "Slaughter Solution"

Posted by: Eric Roper under Minnesota congressional Updated: March 19, 2010 - 4:08 PM

 
Days before lawmakers in the House are scheduled to take a crucial vote on health care, conservative firebrand Rep. Michele Bachmann is flooding the airwaves with rallying cries to “kill the bill.”
 
She and other Republicans have recently targeted the so-called “Slaughter Solution,” Nancy Pelosi’s plan for lawmakers to pass the changes to the Senate bill without taking a vote on the legislation itself. Many Republicans have said the tactic, though not without precedent, is a backdoor way to pass such a massive bill and may be unconstitutional.
 
Bachmann took that a step further, however, repeatedly saying in the last week that this has “never been done before.” She said it during her rally in St. Paul this Saturday, on Fox News, ABC News and other programs (see video above).  
 
But even Republicans admit that the tactic, sometimes called “deem and enact,” has been used in the past. The dispute among Democrats and Republicans is largely over how many times it has happened. Bachmann appears to be alone in calling it unprecedented.
 
Needless to say, she had a lot of television and radio hosts scratching their heads.
 
On Fox News’ “Red Eye” program Wednesday, Bachmann said, “This is unusual even for Congress, to pass a bill without voting on it – it’s never been done before in the history of Congress.”
 
When the host noted that Democrats say Republicans used this in the past, Bachmann replied confidently, “They’ve used reconciliation, which is in the Senate. They have never used the Slaughter – the House rule that’s here in the House. This is a first time.”
 
And on ABC News’ “Top Line” webcast Tuesday, Bachmann left them equally confused.
 
“This has never been used before. There isn’t one instance in the history of Congress where the Slaughter – the House rule has been used,” Bachmann said. The host responded that he was under the impression “deeming” had been used on another bill, but Bachmann didn’t waver.
 
“No, no, the deeming rule hasn’t been used before.”
 
In an unusual reverse-course for Bachmann, she acknowledged in an interview Friday that she was wrong.
 
“The information I got initially was bad. Or, I should say, not accurate," Bachmann said.
 
Bachmann said it originated from a “constitutional law guy that I know who also does research” and had searched congressional records for references to the tactic.
 
“It was within about 24 hours or so [of learning about the Slaughter Solution] that I heard that statement that it had never been used before,” Bachmann said. “Now in the last few days I’d heard no, that’s not true, that it has been used before.”
 
(h/t to the Minnesota Independent for spotting some of the harder-to-find appearances in the above video)

 

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