Friday, February 26, 2010


So there

Over on my food blog, an anonymous jackass took issue with my post calling reconciliation an "obscure" Senate rule. Mr. Jackass also stated that because President George W. Bush used reconciliation to enact tax-cuts in 2003, well, it's a-okay to use reconciliation to pass ObamaCare, too. In response, I said:

You don't have to be a PhD in political science - and you obviously never even took political science 101 - to know that reconciliation is a device used for BUDGETARY legislation (and just so you know, tax-cuts, or tax-increases for that matter, are BUDGETARY matters). Never in the history of the Republic has reconciliation been used to pass sweeping social legislation.

Today's Wall Street Journal features an op-ed by former Senator Bill Frist, who, as a former Senate Marjority Leader, knows a thing or two about the rules of the U.S. Senate. Not only does Frist call reconciliation an "arcane" Senate rule, he also says that reconciliation has never been used "to adopt major, substantive policy change."

So there.

You can read Frist's op-ed here. A cogent passage:

Applying the reconciliation process is dangerous because it would likely destroy its true purpose, which is to help enact fiscal policy consistent with an agreed-upon congressional budget blueprint. Worse, using reconciliation to amend a bill before it has become law in order to avoid the normal House and Senate conference procedure is a total affront to the legislative process.

Finally, enacting sweeping health-care reform through reconciliation is a mistake because of rapidly diminishing public support for the strictly partisan Senate and House health bills. The American people disdain the backroom deals that have been cut with the hospital and pharmaceutical industries, the unions, the public display of the "cornhusker kickback," etc. The public will likely—and in my opinion, rightly—rebel against the use of a procedural tactic to lower the standard threshold for passage because of a lack of sufficient support in the Senate.

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