Health Care Reform Through Reconciliation Wrong According to Many Senators

February 28, 2010

With President Obama and the Democrat leadership in the House and Senate urging health care reform through reconciliation, several Senators are speaking out against using reconciliation.

Reconciliation was set up to allow for budget items to get through Congress after both the House and Senate passed slightly different bills.  However, both parties have used reconciliation in the past to move through items that were not purely budgetary.

Now the President and the Congressional Democrat leadership is threatening to use reconciliation to pass their massive health care reform bill.

Several leading Congressmen have spoke out against using the reconciliation process.  The following are several quotes from several Senators:

  1. “The President hasn’t gotten his way. And that is now prompting a change in the Senate rules that really I think would change the character of the Senate forever…what I worry about would be that you essentially still have 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.”
  2. “We are on the precipice of a crisis, a constitutional crisis. The checks and balances which have been at the core of this Republic are about to be evaporated by the nuclear option. The checks and balances which say that if you get 51% of the vote you don’t get your way 100% of the time. It is amazing it’s almost a temper tantrum. “
  3. “Mr. President the right to extended debate is never more important than the one party who controls congress and the white house. In these cases the filibuster serves as a check on power and preserves our limited government.”
  4. “This nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power.  It is a fundamental power grab.
  5. “You’ve got majority rule and then you have the senate over here where people can slow things down where they can debate where they have something called the filibuster. You know it seems like it’s a little less than efficient — well that’s right it is. And deliberately designed to be so.”
  6. “They want their way every single time. And they will change the rules, break the rules, and misread the constitution so that they will get their way.”
  7. “This is the way Democracy ends. Not with a bomb but with a gavel.”  

Who are all these Senators that have spoken out against the use of reconciliation to pass legislation? 

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Charles Schumer
  3. Harry Reid
  4. Joe Biden
  5. Hillary Clinton
  6. Charles Schumer
  7. Max Baucus

Several more quotes against reconciliation can be found at Human Events. 

The hypocrisy that exists in our government is truly astounding.  Remember these quotes the President and Democrat leaders are on television or in the media talking about how they must pass health care reform through reconciliation.  President Obama is on record saying the the use of reconciliation is clearly something that the founders of our country did not intend.

Hot Air is reporting that even the NYT is pessimistic about the use of reconciliation.  This comes as even Nancy Pelosi is urging Democrats to support the health care reform bill even if the people the represent are against it as this is something “the people need” according to Pelosi.

The question is, are enough Sentators and Congressmen willing to fall on their swords to give the President and the Democrat leadership a political victory against the wishes of the majority of Americans?

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3 Responses to Health Care Reform Through Reconciliation Wrong According to Many Senators

  1. Brian Rush on February 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Those quotes were not referring to reconciliation. Instead, they were referring to a permanent change in the Senate’s rules which would altogether eliminate the filibuster. That’s what the Republicans threatened in 2005 in response to Democratic obstruction against confirming Pres. Bush’s judicial nominees. It should not be confused with reconciliation, which is a one-bill tactic that — completely contrary to what you are suggesting here — does NOT change Senate rules.

    The idea that there is anything improper or against Senate rules in what the Democrats are proposing to do is nonsense. The health care reform bill has already passed the Senate with 60 votes; it does not need to be passed a second time, by reconciliation or by any other method. What is being proposed is only to use reconciliation to amend the bill so as to make it more attractive to House Democrats. All of the amendments are appropriate for use of reconciliation. If the entire bill is not, that’s irrelevant, because the entire bill has already been passed.

  2. Meredith Merriner on February 28, 2010 at 5:31 pm


    I can agree that the hypocrisy on both sides has many of us frustrated. Thanks for writing this article. We may not agree on all of the issues, but we can agree that the political games need to stop so the we can get the business of the day done for the American people.
    Take care, Meredith

  3. Steve Mustanski on February 28, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Several of those quotes are directly referring to the “nuclear option” of reconciliation.

    I never said it was improper (although I think the way it is being used is wrong), I am just quoting what several leading democrats said about using reconciliation for not budget items.

    The fact of the matter is that the Democrats passed a bill in the Senate that doesn’t sit well with the House or several of the Democrats key special interest groups. Now they want to ammend the bill (take provisions out and put new provision in) that they passed (after giving millions to states whose Senators would be against it any other way) so that the House may pass it (if they get the votes).

    They either need to change the bill through ammendment and debate or have the house pass it as is.

    Why not “reconcile” back in the public options, a new section for the abolition of private insurance companies, a 40% tax on all income, a new moon base, or anything else now the the bill has “passed”.

    Are you saying that the Senate should be allowed to put in language to overcome a fillabuster and then take it back out to get only 51 votes?

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