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  • Video: Reconciliation Maneuvers Around the Will of the People

    In yesterday’s White House health care summit, Americans heard some talk of “reconciliation” being used to pass health care through Congress, but the true purpose and history of the procedure is likely something of a mystery to most folks, except for a few inside-the-beltway wonks.

    In this video, Heritage’s Director of Senate Relations, Brian Darling, explains that reconciliation – otherwise known as “the nuclear option” – is a procedural end-run around the will of the American people.

    First developed in the 1970s, reconciliation was intended to be a budgetary tool implemented in the Senate to get around the filibuster, a tactic used to prevent the vote of a proposal by extending debate until it dies. Absent reconciliation, a 60-vote supermajority is needed to stop a filibuster and advance a bill.

    Darling says that the use of reconciliation to pass legislation as major as health care reform is unprecedented and offensive for many reasons, particularly because “numerous polls indicate that there’s overwhelming opposition to this ObamaCare proposal with the average American.”

    Even Barack Obama decried the use of reconciliation as a procedural tactic. As Darling notes, in 2005, then-Senator Obama said the use of reconciliation would “change the character of the Senate forever” and the result would be that “you essentially have still two chambers – the House and the Senate – but you have simply majoritarian, absolute power on either side, and that’s just not what the Founders intended.”

    And Darling says it’s “an unprecedented and remarkable abuse of power.”

    Watch his video to learn more.

    Posted in Obamacare, Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Video: Reconciliation Maneuvers Around the Will of the People

    1. Kevin Habib, Glen Bu says:

      Mike and Brian – come on! How misleading can you possible be? Or did you two just arrive in DC in teh last couple years and have no concept of reconciliations history?

      Brian called it “an unprecedented and remarkable abuse of power.” That's is absurd. Reconciliation was created to move deficit-reducing legislation and turn the Senate into a majority rules chamber.

      It was the Republican Congress and Republican President who first used reconciliation to move legsialtion that added to the deficit – that was extremely unprecedented and abuse of power.

      Go back and read heritage's pieces in 2001 and 2003 – it shows how much you flip-flop and how truly partisan you are. Your pieces ridicule those who were concered about the debt – saying we have a 5.6b surplus, so the Republican 001 stimulus package of $1.6b will do nothing to the deficit and debt. That is twice the cost of health reform bills and added to the deficit, yet you were all for it and used reconciliation.

      Did the same thing in 2003. They used reconciliation to pass yet another stimulus package, but this time, it was a 50-50 vote, so Cheney had to be 51st vote to get it passed. That was a far smaller majority than the vote for the health reform bill.

      What has happened to Heritage? Did you just stop hiring good people? Or are you too tied into Frank and Freedom works? Just sad.

    2. Tom, MO says:

      Brian,

      You are absolutely right, Those uses were ridiculous, and I think to use it on the health care bill is too, as does Robert Byrd, one of the authors of Reconciliation. Both sides can be accused of being hypocritical in this situation. What I don't think is going to fly is the comment you and Sen. Reid seem to think will: the "They did it first argument". The political ramifications are something President Obama, like ALL politicians, always considers before doing anything, I hope he is bluffing on this. If he chooses to go that way, I think he is a Lame Duck for the rest of his term and he won't be re-elected. The ads that will be run will relentless, it will be video after of him arguing against the use of a measure when he was opposed to the policy, but then doing a 180 and saying it's OK when it's a policy he supports. I hope he makes a wise decision.

    3. BBack, St. Louis says:

      Wow, what a hack piece!

      Reconciliation has been uses 23 times in I think the last decade, 16 times by Repubs and they used it for things like the Bush Tax Cuts for the rich and to pass the Medicare drug plan.

      This is why I don't trust Republicans. Feel free to talk about your point of view and your plans and beliefs but when you lie you lose all credibility.

      Keep up the good work boys!

    4. Pingback: video reconciliation maneuvers around will of the people the  Forums discussion updates in 2010 |

    5. Jeff, Exton says:

      I really am against this health care bill, but the Dems have every right to use reconciliation. They didn't create this rule just to pass a health care bill, it's in the rulebook so it's fair play. Also, there is no rule that says Congress has to do the will of the people. That is the reason we have elections, to elect a person the people think will do the best job. Now, it would probably be unwise to jam through a bill that America doesn't want, but that is their decision. They are putting what they think is best, although it isn't, above elections, and they will likely pay for it in 2010 and 2012. I truly hope this bill fails, but there is no rule that says reconciliation cannot be used.

    6. LawFinder says:

      Here is what I found on health care reform: it’s a States issue, it’s illegal for the feds to get involved, most states are passing opt out laws as we speak. These idiots will be voted out and it will be repelled. Lawsuits will be in the courts for years, the states will not go along with this law and it will be the beginning of the end for the government getting involved in healthcare.

      GOVERNMENT ARROGATION OF HEALTHCARE IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL:

      U.S. SUPREME COURT

      LINDER V. UNITED STATES, 268 U.S. 5 (1925)

      LINDER V. UNITED STATES

      NO. 183

      SUBMITTED MARCH 9, 1925

      DECIDED APRIL 13, 1925

      268 U.S. 5

      CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

      FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

      SYLLABUS

      1. ANY PROVISION OF AN ACT OF CONGRESS OSTENSIBLY ENACTED UNDER POWER GRANTED BY THE CONSTITUTION, NOT NATURALLY AND REASONABLY ADAPTED TO THE EFFECTIVE EXERCISE OF SUCH POWER BUT SOLELY TO THE ACHIEVEMENT OF SOMETHING PLAINLY WITHIN THE POWER RESERVED TO THE STATES, IS INVALID AND CANNOT BE ENFORCED. P. 268 U. S. 17.

      2. DIRECT CONTROL OF MEDICAL PRACTICE IN THE STATES IS OBVIOUSLY BEYOND THE POWER OF CONGRESS. P. 268 U. S. 18.

      3. INCIDENTAL REGULATION OF SUCH PRACTICE BY CONGRESS THROUGH A TAXING ACT, LIKE THE NARCOTIC LAW, CANNOT EXTEND TO MATTERS PLAINLY INAPPROPRIATE AND UNNECESSARY TO REASONABLE ENFORCEMENT OF A REVENUE MEASURE. P. 268 U. S. 18.

    7. MarkV says:

      To the posts above (Kevin, Tom, BBack), I love the irony of you three asking for the piece to do more research, all the while doing none of your own. You are too used to reading the sound bites and not doing your own research. Of course Reconciliation has been used before, and yes mostly by Republican congresses. But for the purposes of Budget adjustments as was the point of the Byrd Rule of '85. The "unprecedented" part that Mr. Brownfield is discussing is that it has never been used to START legislation. All your examples include the use of Reconciliation to correct or improve existing legislation in terms of budget. All Reconciliation acts previously are devoted to changes in the President's Budget, and taxes are directly related to the budget.

      In 2005, the Republicans threatened to use Reconciliation (called the "Nuclear Option" by Democrats at the time) to push through judicial nominations. The Democrats were right to argue that such a maneuver would be unconstitutional because 1) it avoided the 60 votes necessary in the Senate, and 2) it had nothing to do with the Byrd Rule allowing Reconciliation to correct budgetary items. All senior Democrats made exceptional speeches railing the Republicans for this unprecedented use (or abuse) of power. Luckily cooler heads prevailed and Reconciliation was not used.

      Today, we have a similar matter to the 2005 Republicans, except now it is the Democrats who see fit to discard the rules of the Senate. It is now they, the Democrats, who are on the verge of unprecedented abuse of power. Let us all pray that cooler heads again prevail!

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