I thought Norah O’Donnell was fairly lucid on this subject below (and here is more information on Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao’s flip-flop on this subject, and among other things, this tells us more about the 22 reconciliation bills passed between 1980 and 2008, including three vetoed by President Bill Clinton).
“There are a lot of ways to remedy the situation without nationalizing health care,” Mr. Bush said. “I worry about encouraging the government to replace the private sector when it comes to providing insurance for health care.”
As noted here…
While he was governor of Texas, that state ranked next to last “in the percentage of children with health insurance and about 1.4 million children in Texas were uninsured.” He supported expansion of SCHIP when running for re-election in 2004, then opposed it after winning a second term. When he finally did decide to add $5 billion to SCHIP funding, it would have resulted in about 840,000 kids losing coverage, whereas the bipartisan congressional alternative provided coverage to 10 million kids.
“Replace the private sector”…what a nitwit!
Well I think that Mr. Obama, if he continues to have these types of attitudes, we’re going to see things get very bad, very quickly. Already the North Koreans have challenged him and realized that he’s a cream puff, if that is what he is indeed going to be as a President.… [N]ow if the Mullahs in Iran are permitted to just roll over opposition something like Tiananmen square (I fixed Rohrabacher’s misspelling), we will have missed a great opportunity.
Gee, maybe Obama should’ve traded arms for hostages with Iran, like Dana R.’s old boss.
And if Obama is a “creampuff,” I don’t know what that makes Rohrabacher for aiding Afghan fighters in the ‘80s who would later become the Taliban, along with that bin Laden guy (noted here).
It should be noted that, back when they were the majority party essentially from 2000-2006, one of the tools they used to ramrod their agenda through Congress was somewhat ironically titled “reconciliation,” which, as noted here…
…is an optional procedure that can be included in the annual Congressional budget resolution process.
Inclusion in the budget does not mean reconciliation will definitely be used; it merely leaves the option on the table.
The main purpose of budget reconciliation is to provide Congress the ability to change current law in order to align revenue and spending levels with the policies of the budget resolution.
I say it’s a bit ironic because, in effect, it means that the dreaded “60 votes needed for passage” in the Senate do not apply; a straight majority vote on whatever the affected piece of legislation happens to be is sufficient.
And though, as The Gavel states, it is to be used primarily for budget matters, it was abused to pass the notorious tax cuts of the early part of this decade, which have a lot to do with our current economic mess, noted here (along with Judd Gregg’s tactic of using it to open the ANWR for drilling).
And by the way, if you want to read some funny stuff in response to U.S. House Rep Pete Hoekstra’s “tweet” in particular, check this out (h/t Atrios).
I thought this was an interesting little item in the CNN “analysis” from Dana Bash about the first 100 days of the Obama Administration…
Democrats last week, at the behest of Obama’s team, decided to use a rule that ultimately will prevent Republicans from waging a filibuster against the overhaul of health care. At the end of the day, if they can hold their own members in line, Democrats won’t have to make concessions to Republicans to pass health care legislation.
I believe what Bash is talking about here is “reconciliation,” a Senate process designed to prevent filibusters when voting on legislation (there’s probably more to it than that, but the explanation is good enough for now).
I think the following needs to be pointed out also (from here)…
Despite their decision to arm themselves with a partisan weapon to move health reform through the Senate with a simple majority, senior Democrats continue to insist they will pull the trigger only if their hands are forced.
This week, the House and Senate will debate – and probably pass – a $3.5 trillion budget that will include reconciliation provisions that will enable Democrats to pass their health reform legislation with just 51 votes, not the 60 usually needed to pass major bills in the upper chamber.
And (as noted here)…
The reconciliation instruction specifies a date. That date, according to one congressional staffer, is October 15. (The original House reconciliation instruction had a late September deadline.)
In other words, the House and Senate each have until that day to pass health care legislation.
If they haven’t, then both houses will consider health care under the reconciliation process, which is relevant primarily for the way it affects the Senate. There will be a limit on the time of debate. Republicans won’t be able to filibuster it.
So at least the Dems are giving the Repugs a “sporting chance” here, trying to avoid reconciliation until the final quarter of the year if it’s necessary, and given the track record of the minority party, I’d be shocked if that doesn’t turn out to be the case.
And as noted here from Media Matters, the Repugs certainly weren’t shy about using reconciliation when they were in charge, particularly for the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (which resulted in about a trillion dollars of tax cuts, contributing mightily to our “race to the bottom” of government debt helping to trigger our economic downturn) the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, and the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005. Media Matters also tells us here that Bash is one of the corporate media journos who continues to let the lie propagate that Obama’s “income tax proposals would increase taxes on a large percentage of small businesses.”
Oh, and by the way, here is another “golden moment” from Dana Bash courtesy of last year’s presidential campaign (think, “Drill, Baby, Drill”).
Update: Yep, I think this is a good reason for reconciliation, all right.
Update 4/28/09: Good point from Media Matters here…