Reconciliation Will Be Scarier Than One Million Halloweens


Hooray, liberals, we did it! That sucker Obama was all "I'm not doing reconciliation" then "Well, look, here are the facts" and then finally "I will pursue reconciliation." Now, let's see how this process will play out under Senate rules, shouldn't be too burdensome... GAHHH.

People have been writing for months about how the Byrd rule would poop all over these fixes in reconciliation, making December's Senate wars look tiny. So we're getting bigger wars? Hooray!

At risk of oversimplification, the Byrd rule is designed to ensure that reconciliation is used to only make budgetary fixes, not policy ones, to existing legislation. Presuming the House passes the Senate bill, the House will then pass a reconciliation fix to the bill, after which the Senate will then try to pass that fix, too.

At this point Senate GOPers will repeatedly invoke the Byrd rule to ask the parliamentarian to strip individual provisions (ones fixing this or that in the original bill) out of the fix, on the grounds that they are policy fixes. If individual provisions are stripped, it would change the Senate’s version of the overall fix.

That would force the House to vote on it again and again, stalling the process further.


There’s a larger game plan here. By making it clear they will do their best to tie reconciliation in procedural knots, Republicans are hoping to frighten House Dems into believing reconciliation is doomed. If House Dems are persuaded that the fix later will fail, they will be less likely to pass the original Senate bill in the first place, perhaps killing it.

Here is a picture of the devilish Senate parliamentarian, Alan Frumin, now widely recognized as the most important man in America.

Be fucking scared.

[The Plum Line]


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