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Less than a year ago, Baucus and Conrad endorsed reconciliation for health care reform

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 07:43 AM
Original message
Less than a year ago, Baucus and Conrad endorsed reconciliation for health care reform
Edited on Sun Aug-23-09 07:58 AM by babylonsister
http://www.mydd.com/story/2009/8/21/194145/076

Baucus and Conrad endorsed reconciliation for health care reform

by ryeland, Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 07:41:45 PM EST


I was just re-reading a diary I wrote last February predicting that Democrats would need to use reconciliation to pass health care reform, and noticed an interesting quote from Max Baucus.

Just after last November's election, Ezra Klein posted a profile of Max Baucus that included this discussion of Budget Reconciliation:


...Congress in the Bush years normalized the procedure, using it for everything from tax cuts to drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. But reconciliation remains an aggressive tool for something as controversial as health-care reform. (It's also an uncertain one: Republican opponents could use the rule that bears Byrd's name to mount a parliamentary challenge.) So I ask Baucus whether he could imagine running health care through the budget-reconciliation process. "Yes, I can," he says without hesitation. "The goal here is to get results. And not just results for the sake of results but principled results. And that means working with the other side where you get principled results and means maybe going to reconciliation to get principled results."


Interesting. But that was before Baucus put together the Gang of Six, the group of Conservadems and Republicans who are trying to push through the health insurance industry's version of health care reform. Once that process had started, Baucus changed his tune. From April 2009:

Baucus, meanwhile, did indicate that he is unlikely to use "reconciliation" to push a health-care reform bill through the Senate.

<...>

Sen. Baucus said he did not want to use this process to overcome Republican opposition because it would only thwart bipartisan negotiation.

"I am not in favor of reconciliation; I think it gets in the way," Baucus said. "If we jam something down somebody's throat it's not sustainable, and I want something that's sustainable, that's going to last.

"My goal has always been to talk to Republicans and say `Hey, we don't have to do this (resolution) if we work together.'"


And how about Kent Conrad? Back in March, Conrad stated that he would rather not use Budget Reconciliation for health care reform, but felt it was appropriate if necessary:

KENT CONRAD: RECONCILIATION IS NOT OFF THE TABLE.

"One thing I've said to colleagues is the Budget Act contemplates a second budget resolution with only 10 hours {of debate} on the floor," Conrad continued. "If it proved absolutely essential, if there was no Republican cooperation on writing major health reform, you could write a second resolution. It would only take a day on the floor and you could include reconciliation instructions there."


As health care legislation comes together over the next few weeks or months, it's important to remember that Max Baucus and Kent Conrad have no problem with Budget Reconciliation in principle. If they say they do, let's remember who they're speaking for now -- the health insurance industry.

Finally, if you have any doubts about the intentions of Max Baucus, consider the Gang of Seven. And, no, I don't mean the Gang of Six. Prior to a month ago, when Orrin Hatch abruptly left negotiations, Max Baucus' bipartisan health care reform group consisted of four Republicans and three Democrats. How special.
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Phoebe Loosinhouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 07:49 AM
Response to Original message
1. Excellent post!
If we still had a REAL Meet the Press now - by that I mean one in which Democrats occasionally appeared, Tim Russert would have used his famous - "Let's watch this clip" schtick and then would treat Baucus and Conrad to video of themselves saying how Reconciliation could be used if necessary.

(Not that Russert was a great journalist - but he did enjoy embarassing people who did 180s on policy)
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Looks like Conrad was called on it this am, and again claims
reconciliation won't work. x(

http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/conrad-healthcare-j...

snip//

Both senators also talked down the prospects of using budget reconciliation to bypass Senate rules on a filibuster, and pass healthcare reform with a simple majority, instead of the usual 60 votes needed to end a filibuster.

"It's an option, it's available. But as I've argued for many months, it does not work very well," Conrad said, worrying that using budget rules to pass the bill would result in incomplete legislation.

Grassley cast aspersions toward reconciliation as only increasing partisan rancor on the issue.

"If you have reconciliation, it's a partisan approach," he said. "This is such an important issue... It ought to be done on a broad, bipartisan basis."
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Why do they say bipartisan, when they mean the way the Republicans
and Blue Cross Dogs want it? There is no bipartisanship there.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
3. Those two senators have displayed their true spots and stripes, so I hope
Harry Reid can box him and his gang out of making the final sausage so true reform can happen.
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