[Hatch on left; Cornyn on right]
It appears that Senate Democrats might utilize the reconciliation provision to pass health care. What the hell is that? you ask.
The Booman Tribune explains: It is "[A] little understood parliamentary trick called 'budget reconciliation' [which allows] the majority party in the Senate to pass legislation with a mere 50 votes (plus the tie-breaking vote of the vice-president). Basically, there is a rule limiting debate on the budget which means that the budget cannot be filibustered. Bill Clinton used budget reconciliation to pass his tax hikes in 1993 and George W. Bush used the process to pass his tax cuts in 2001 and 2003.
"Technically, you are not supposed to use the procedure to piggy-back controversial legislation onto the budget in order to get around the filibuster. There's even a thing called the Byrd Rule which is supposed to prevent this from happening.
"If the Democrats include a health care bill as part of the budget reconciliation process the the bill will be subject to a point of order that it is in violation of the Byrd Rule. Then it will be up to the parliamentarian to decide whether the Byrd Rule has been violated. If the answer is 'yes', then it takes 60 votes to waive the rule."
Okay. The Repugs are worried that the Dems are going to utilize the reconciliation provision to pass health care! Omigod!
Hey, wait a minute. Didn't Bush use this provision? Oh yeah, but that doesn't matter. Only Repugs get to use rules to get around rules! That's in the consitution somewhere!
Anyway, two nogoodniks, Sen. John Cornyn, the neanderthal from Texas and Orrin Hatch, the guy who can't sing, another neanderthal from Utah, are threatening the Dems that if they do this nefarious thing of which they themselves are guilty, they will shut down the goddamn Senate! Yes, sir. They'll show these Democrats who want to provide health care for Americans a thing or two!
Here's how they might go about it, according to David Drucker (Roll Call) who "quotes a former GOP senate leadership aid (sic) as saying:
"The GOP might first go after White House nominations. Republicans could require each appointee to get a separate hearing and a separate roll call vote. They could stop attending committee meetings, and decline to provide 'unanimous consent' to move forward on even the most benign issues or routine Senate business. Republicans could also demand that the text of the bills, which are often hundreds of pages long, be read aloud."
Or, as the PoliGazette noted: "In other words, Republicans are preparing to lock down the Senate if Democrats push through reconciliation."
Heh. Heh. Let 'em try it! Two things:
1. First every one of the Repugnican nogoodniks in the Senate need to remember (perhaps someone should inscribe these words on their nogoodnik foreheads - what goes around comes around - and if, God forbid, the situation in the Senate should be reversed some day, the Dems will have a powerful precedent to follow when another Bush tries to pull a similar stunt!.
2. Secondly, if the Dems institute the reconciliation provision and get health care passed, it will be a great day for America. The majority of the American people will be overjoyed! How will it play on Main Street when the Republicans throw a tantrum about giving their fellow citizens health care, and shut down the government in response?
That should pretty well doom the reprehensible Repugs in 2010 and 2012 and many years beyond that into the future.
Would serve them right, too!
Read the entire Booman Tribune article here.