Posts Tagged ‘budget reconciliation’
September 30th, 2009 at 11:57 am
What’s Reconciliation?
Posted by Print

The common refrain in the Senate is that a bill needs 60 votes (3/5 of the Senate) to pass.   Otherwise, a dedicated cadre of 41 Senators can continue debate on a bill forever, thus killing its legislative prospects.

However, during a process known as budget reconciliation, the Senate is allowed to pass legislation directly related to taxing and spending with only a majority (51 votes) needed.  Thus, as Harry Reid has already pledged, a government-takeover of health care could pass, even with unanimous GOP objection and with several Democratic defectors.

Opponents of a government takeover do have several arrows in their quiver.  Under the “Byrd Rule,” a Senator can make a budget point of order and rule that a certain piece of legislation is not germane to the budget reconciliation process.  It takes 60 votes to overcome a budget point of order.  Thus, any health care bill passed during the reconciliation process would likely emerge from the Senate as a smelly piece of Swiss Cheese, not pie-in-the-sky universal health care.

In case you wanted to know more, MSNBC’s First Read has a great primer on reconciliation.

September 22nd, 2009 at 12:22 pm
Reid: Forget Bipartisanship, We’ll Go It Alone

Majority Leader Harry Reid this morning didn’t mince words in warning Senate Republicans that if they don’t get behind “health care reform” soon the Dems will use a procedural maneuver to pass it on their own. 

If we can’t work this out to do something within the committee structure, then we’ll be forced to do reconciliation.”

Reid has threatened to use budget reconciliation — a procedural move that requires a simple majority vote for passage rather than the traditional 60 votes needed in the Senate to pass most bills —  before, but some have warned that such a move could backfire.  The Majority Leader’s “bipartisanship, we don’t need no stinking bipartisanship” moment this morning, however, made it clear that public opposition be damned, Reid is prepared to ram Obama’s government-run health care experiment down the throats of the American people no matter what it takes.

Given Reid’s anemic job approval ratings in Nevada, it appears he’s thinking he’s got nothing left to lose.