SEN. HARRY REID: “No One Has Talked About Reconciliation.” --(Health Care Summit, 2/25/10)
“Reid Said… Democrats Would Use The Reconciliation Process. ‘We’re Going To Have That Done In The Next 60 Days.’”
“Democrats will finish their health reform efforts within the next two months by using a majority-vote maneuver in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said. Reid said that congressional Democrats would likely opt for a procedural tactic in the Senate allowing the upper chamber to make final changes to its healthcare bill with only a simple ‘I’ve had many conversations this week with the president, his chief of staff, and Speaker Pelosi,’ Reid said during an appearance Friday evening on ‘Face to Face with Jon Ralston’ in Nevada. ‘And we’re really trying to move forward on this.’ The majority leader said that while Democrats have a number of options, they would likely use the budget reconciliation process to pass a series of fixes to the first healthcare bill passed by the Senate in November. These changes are needed to secure votes for passage of that original Senate bill in the House. ‘We’ll do a relatively small bill to take care of what we’ve already done,’ Reid said, affirming that Democrats would use the reconciliation process. ‘We’re going to have that done in the next 60 days.’”
(“Reid: Dems Will use 50-Vote Tactic To Finish Healthcare In 60 Days,” The Hill’s Briefing Blog, 2/20/10)
And they wonder why we don't take them seriously.
In January, I pointed out that reconciliation requires bills that have already passed in both houses of congress in different forms. What I've been reading recently is that the proposed tactic is to sneak the health care changes into a budget reconciliation.
That means they would start with bills that are about the budget that have passed in different forms in the two houses, and "reconcile" the differences in them by adding in identical health care legislation that hadn't necessarily passed in either house. Most bodies that follow some form of parliamentary order like Roberts' Rules prohibit adding new material in this way. But in Congress, politics is "the art of the possible", so they can get away with whatever they decide to do.
Thanks for your clarification, Chris.
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