Chris Van Hollen Threatens Reconciliation

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 16, 2010


Behold. Of course, this was not a popular idea 5 months ago, and I doubt that it has gotten much more popular since then. As noted back in July of last year, reconciliation carries its own risks, since “[m]ajor portions of the bill would likely drop out, allowing Leader Reid to pass only a Swiss cheese version of their desired reform.” The Bloomberg story reinforces this point:

Using reconciliation would likely force Democrats to scale back their health-care plans. The procedure is designed to make deficit-cutting easier by reducing the number of votes needed to pass unpopular tax increases and spending cuts. Lawmakers can’t include policy changes that the parliamentarian deems have only an “incidental” connection to budget-cutting, and senators would need 60 votes to override those rulings.

If there is a downside to reconciliation being impractical, it might be that it increases the incentive for Massachusetts Democrats to delay the certification of a Scott Brown Senate victory over Martha Coakley, and the incentive for national Democrats to go along with the chicanery. Speaking of which, I am still waiting for Democrats to announce that they won’t stoop to the level of throwing up procedural roadblocks in front of a Brown certification, merely so that they can pass health care reform.

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