Posts Tagged ‘reconciliation’
March 15th, 2010 at 2:45 pm
The Importance of Process

It is argued that passing Obamacare with zero support from the opposing party will make Washington, D.C. a more partisan place.  Probably so.  But the real, lasting problem with the Democratic strategy of process-be-damned lawmaking is that it flips our national government’s legislative default rule on its head.

As President Obama has lamented, the US Constitution is a charter of negative liberties, which means that most of the language in the document is devoted to restraining the government to ensure the people’s freedom.  Though many hate the filibuster, it’s use relates back to fundamental premises like the separation of powers, and checks and balances.  All led to the conclusion that it should be very difficult for government to act.

Contrast that with the means used to propel Obamacare through Congress, like budget reconciliation and the “Slaughter Solution.”  There is no support  – either historically or constitutionally – for using these measures to grease the skids for substantive policy reform.  The legislative process as laid out in the Constitution is unrecognizable when it comes to Obamacare.  The Democrats who succumb to the temptation of voting for this bill, using these maneuvers, are doing much more than engaging in sharp legislative dealing.  They are irrevocably changing the rules of the game from one governed by laws, to one abused by politicians.

March 8th, 2010 at 10:22 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Part II
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

March 3rd, 2010 at 12:53 pm
Best Single Source Description of the “Reconciliation” Process

For anyone looking for an excellent summary of the history, purpose, and use of the Senate’s budget reconciliation process, Newt Gingrich provides the best single source description I’ve read so far.  This analysis – supplemented with charts showing when the process has been used, by whom, and for what – will be very helpful when debating your liberal friends or trying to decipher the media’s confused coverage of the procedure.  It even discusses “the Byrd Rule” (named after its author, West Virginia Democratic Senator, Robert Byrd), and its role in stopping the Clinton White House from using reconciliation to pass HillaryCare.  With President Obama calling on congressional Democrats to use reconciliation to pass the Senate’s health care “reform” bill so they can bypass a Republican filibuster, now is the time to get your arguments down and call your members of Congress.

H/T: Human Events

February 11th, 2010 at 10:21 am
Thought ObamaCare Was Dead? Pelosi Aide Says Think Again…

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s senior health care advisor said this week that Democratic leadership has settled on a procedural strategy to pass ObamaCare. 

The story was first reported by Congress Daily (which can only be accessed with a subscription).  Here’s how reported it:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top health care aide Wendell Primus admitted top Democrats have already decided on the strategy to pass the Senate’s government-run health care bill…

Primus explained that the Senate will use the controversial reconciliation strategy that will have the House approve the Senate bill and both the House and Senate okaying changes to the bill that the Senate will sign off on by preventing Republicans from filibustering.

“The trick in all of this is that the president would have to sign the Senate bill first, then the reconciliation bill second, and the reconciliation bill would trump the Senate bill,” Primus said at the National Health Policy Conference hosted by Academy Health and Health Affairs.

 “There’s a certain skill, there’s a trick, but I think we’ll get it done,” he said.

The news had The Washington Examiner’s Mark Tapscott pondering, “[W]hy call a health care summit and challenge congressional Republicans to come with their best ideas when the plan is already in place to use legislative trickery to pass Obamacare?”

Good question.  One that Tapscott himself answered very adequately by writing:

The most logical answer would seem to be that the summit is part and parcel of a White House/congressional Democratic strategy to distract attention from what is about to happen on the Hill. It’s the classic magician’s trick of distracting you with the left hand while the right hand does the “trick.”

January 26th, 2010 at 3:23 pm
They Just Don’t Get It…

Seemingly oblivious to the message sent by Massachusetts voters – on behalf of the entire nation – last week, Congressional leaders appear to be working to rally support in their caucus behind a series of procedural tactics in an effort to salvage their extremely unpopular health care “reform” bill.  The Associated Press reports:

Democratic congressional leaders are coalescing around their last, best hope for salvaging President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul. …

Democratic congressional aides, speaking on condition of anonymity because the issue is in flux, said the latest strategy involves using a special budget procedure to revise the Senate bill.

The procedural route — known as reconciliation — would allow a majority of 51 senators to amend their bill to address some of the major substantive concerns raised by the House. That would circumvent the need for a 60-vote majority [in the Senate].

Fortunately, at least two Senate Democrats have voiced their opposition to using reconciliation as a way to circumvent the traditional legislative process.  Calling the tactic “ill-advised,” Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) said today he does not support the move.  Likewise, Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) signaled that she opposes passing health care reform via reconciliation.  (H/T  Daniel Foster at The Corner)

It’s unclear at this point whether Pelosi and Reid will garner the support necessary to pull off the procedural move.  Regardless, the fact that they’re even trying proves once again their extreme arrogance.  They just don’t get it.

September 30th, 2009 at 11:57 am
What’s Reconciliation?
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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.