Reconciliation fandango on ObamaCare

Connie Hair of Human Events reports that Senator Harry Reid is setting the stage for getting ObamaCare passed on only 50 votes as a reconciliation bill.

He moved an unrelated House-passed tax bill (which provides for first time homebuyers' credit) so he can use it as a vehicle for his Senate health care bill. This leaves the House-passed health care bill on the Senate calendar undisturbed as a vehicle for reconciliation (passing the Senate with 50 +Veep as a tie breaker). 

Connie indicates there is no valid reason for him to use this other than saving the House bill for Plan B, especially if he thinks this current bill will fail to reach 60 votes to end a filibuster.  The House bill survives unscathed, still sitting on the Senate calendar.

More Red Flags from Senate Healthcare Reform

Just days ago, Reid was quoted as opposing the use of the reconciliation process to ram through the health care bill and Democrat aides were outlining all the problems -- including whether the parliamentarian would even permit it--involved in such an end run.

There are other complications, added the aide. The House of Representatives, for instance, would have to go back to the drawing board after passing a full health care bill several weeks ago. And the concern on the Senate side of the aisle is that Speaker Nancy Pelosi could lose votes if she has to split up the legislation (though, if it meant ultimate passage, this seems unlikely).

The calendar presents another challenge. The White House has been pushing to get a bill to the president's desk before the new year. But reconciliation would likely push that time line back weeks, if not months, interfering with efforts to take up climate change and regulatory reform, running into the start of the 2010 campaign. "Where is the Senate floor time?" the aide asked.

Finally, the aide says, there is a question of votes. While leadership would have the flexibility to let ten Democratic senators vote against health care reform considered via reconciliation, there is enough parliamentary purism within the party to put its passage in doubt. [snip]

Most important of all, Reid himself has said rather definitively that he is "not using reconciliation." And an aide says that leadership has not had conversations with the Senate parliamentarian "in a while" to discuss what it can and can't do through reconciliation.


A friend takes issue with the Huffington Post report indicating that Reid will do anything to get this passed. She says:" if the Senate passes a reconciliation bill there is no way this thing is going to conference.  The House won’t risk amending and sending it back.  So whatever that bill will be will be preconferenced and that will [anger] a lot of people as they lose their provisions as extraneous non revenue matters. 

In other words, the huff post is not correct—he will use reconciliation even if it is the worst of all possibilities so he can get this done."