Sunday, March 22, 2009

If You Can Filibuster, We Can Use Reconciliation

This Wall Street Journal article suggests that Democrats aren't shy about doing just that to pass health care reform, which is an excellent sign:

the tactic -- allowing legislation to pass the Senate with 51 votes rather than the 60 need to overcome a possible filibuster -- has been used by Republican and Democratic administrations to secure major initiatives, from Bill Clinton's tax increases in 1993 to George W. Bush's tax cuts in 2001 and 2003...

The parliamentary tactic, known as "reconciliation," was the main subject of conversation Wednesday night as White House Budget Director Peter Orszag met with Democratic leaders, Democratic leadership aides said. On Tuesday, Mr. Orszag had called it the norm, not an anomaly, for major budget initiatives.

The full House Democratic caucus has yet to be consulted on the issue. But the expectation is that the House will include reconciliation instructions in the budget plan that will be unveiled early next week. And if so, the language will be written to give enough time for the White House and lawmakers to reach a bipartisan deal without resorting to the tactic.

The article also contains whining from Republicans who helped Bush use reconciliation to pass his tax cuts, and who seem to think that the filibuster is a pillar of constitutional governance now that they're in the minority.

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