GOP used to believe 51 votes was enough

You’ve probably heard a lot about so-called ‘reconciliation,” an obscure Senate rule that allows the majority to bypass a filibuster and pass legislation with a simple-majority vote. Because Democrats are threatening to use it to pass a health care bill, Republicans have taken to describing “reconciliation” as just short of a Communist plot.
But the GOP used to love reconciliation. Watch Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) give a fiery 2005 speech defending it: “If you’ve got 51 votes for your position, you win!”

93 comments Add your comment

Old Man

February 26th, 2010
1:41 pm

Cynthia,

This is precisely what anyone would expect you to write. I guess I’m just not into partisan extremes.

LJ

February 26th, 2010
1:44 pm

And what, Cynthia, were you saying when the republicans were threatening to use reconciliation? I’m sure you advocated its use by the Republican majority, right?

Or are you just as much of a hypocrite as the Senator you criticize?

Using reconciliation to pass unpopular legislation is wrong regardless of which party is doing it. That applies to republicans back in 2005 and it applies to democrats today.

Old Man

February 26th, 2010
1:44 pm

I think it’s time to look for compromise solutions, not partisan talking points.

Reality

February 26th, 2010
1:54 pm

I don’t think that republicans “threatened” to use reconcilliation. They DID use it when they had the majority.

Old Man: I agree. It is time. But how can you compomise with a side determined not to budge an inch from their position because it might make them appear to ’sway from their values?’ That is what the republicans are saying and doing.

Robert

February 26th, 2010
1:55 pm

Don’t “boo yah” you on this one Ms. Tucker. Number of simple ways to refute- two wrongs don’t make a right- health care is more serious- etc. If healthcare is done through reconciliation it will be done at the administration’s and congress own (more peril).

Scott

February 26th, 2010
2:04 pm

Reality,
I agree…How far CAN the Reps compromise with the Dems who won’t move from their position one inch. It was all very evident that the current Admin and the current Congress were putting on a great theatrical show yesterday and nothing more. They had no intention of listening to the Republicans and they have no intention of including it in their plan.

Still waiting for answer about the tax question I asked you. Here it goes again. If my AGI stays the same from last year to this year and I pay more in taxes this year than last year, did my tax burden increase?

LibraryJim

February 26th, 2010
2:04 pm

Yes, and what was the Democrat response? “I hope that when the Democrats are in power, we don’t make this type of mad power grab” (Joe Biden) Yep, they roundly condemned it. Yet now that they ARE in power, “oh, boy, we can use reconciliation!”.

As I understand it, though Reconciliation was designed for budget bills only, and as I understand it, this is how it was used by the Republicans.

Reality

February 26th, 2010
2:07 pm

Robert: The majority of Americans WANT health care reform. That was the main issue in the Presidental election and was a major reason Obama was voted into office.

And, if repubs refuse to work together with dems, then what other option is there? It should be that the public gets angry at the repubs for not representing them properly to fashion a health care reform bill that WORKS FOR THE PEOPLE.

But, my crystal ball says that the repubs will continue to sit back and simply criticize whatever is done. It is easy to criticize someone. Just ask Rush L.

Reality

February 26th, 2010
2:08 pm

Scott, I did answer your question many times already. The fact that you “don’t get it” doesn’t shock me.

Reality

February 26th, 2010
2:12 pm

LibraryJim – Notice that reconcilliation was not the first option from the Dems. There has been good faith effort to work with repubs to find common ground. But, the repubs continue to support big buisness, protect the ultra wealthy, and want to maintain status quo.

What other option is there?

Scott

February 26th, 2010
2:13 pm

No you have not answered the question. It is a simple Yes or No. Does your tax burden INCREASE or DECREASE?

Turd Ferguson (Cynthia Tuckers Original # 1 fan)

February 26th, 2010
2:14 pm

Let Barry and Company proceed. Rumor has it that Pelosi doesnt have the votes needed if this awful idea makes it that far. Then again the Senators may make zero changes.

At any rate, several State attorneys are on the sidelines with lawsuits in hand and it does appear the Dems are H E L L bent on have the Reps take charge come Nov 2010 and having a 2012 Rep Pres. Let the chaos begin.

Turd Ferguson (Cynthia Tuckers Original # 1 fan)

February 26th, 2010
2:16 pm

“The majority of Americans WANT health care reform.”

Incorrect. Barrys election was a referendum on Bush.

On a side note…you wouldnt happen to be Hank from Wxia chat boards would you?

Scott

February 26th, 2010
2:18 pm

Reality
“Notice that reconcilliation was not the first option from the Dems. There has been good faith effort to work with repubs to find common ground. But, the repubs continue to support big buisness, protect the ultra wealthy, and want to maintain status quo.

What other option is there?”

Let’s see how the options went for the Reps. First, they had a meeting with the Pres where he said “You lost. I won.” Yeah,. that really opened the doors right? Then, they had an opportunity in committee where all of their ideas were basically pushed to the side with the exception to Olympia Snow. She proposed something and that was kicked away and the Dems said “Screw them. We are doing it our way.” After that, pretty much everything was behind closed doors. Yesterday, we had a circus event where obama pretty much repeated the process from the beginning. Please explain how the reps were allowed to have ANY input when they weren’t even invited to the party. Again, you keep blaming the Reps when the Dems could have done ANYTHING they wanted but they couldn’t get it done.

Reality

February 26th, 2010
2:18 pm

Scott – For the LAST time…. your tax burden has remained the same. The fact that you got a tax “break” doesn’t change your tax burden – that is what you SHOULD have paid. That is the amount, for example, on the tax tables in a 1040. Just because you paid less than your tax burden doesn’t mean that your tax burden changed.

Now that I have answered your question AGAIN, don’t bring this up. It is a different topic on this blog.

Scott

February 26th, 2010
2:19 pm

Turd…Dead on. I don’t know where these idiots come from that keep thinking that the majority of America wants healthcare reform the way the Dems want to reform it. Every poll I see says the exact opposite.

Reality

February 26th, 2010
2:22 pm

Scott, If the repubs would bring forth an idea that was FOR THE PEOPLE and not to protect their wealthy consituents or the insurance companys, then no one would push them aside. What has been brought forward is no real change to the status quo.

The “circus” as you put it was ANOTHER opportunity wasted by the repubs to bring forth REAL ideas to help the American people. If they failed to do it AGAIN, you blame the President? How is that?????

Scott

February 26th, 2010
2:23 pm

Reality….OMG….how is it the same. The tax burden has increased!!!! It is MORE than what it was before. It is so simple. You didn’t do well in math, did you? Out of curiosity, why are you making the decision that true tax rate should be before Bush’s tax cut? Why can’t it be before Clinton’s tax hike? You say they were not paying their fair share since Bush implemented the tax cut. I say they were paying too much until Bush’s tax cut. Why should the top 50% pay 95% of the taxes? Don’t you think that is unfair? It appears you are all about equality when you are talking about somebody else’s money, aren’t you?

Reality

February 26th, 2010
2:25 pm

Scott – LOL! I knew that you would not stop once I answered your question. TOO predictable!

Scott

February 26th, 2010
2:29 pm

“Scott, If the repubs would bring forth an idea that was FOR THE PEOPLE and not to protect their wealthy consituents or the insurance companys, then no one would push them aside. What has been brought forward is no real change to the status quo.”

Funny. I believe their plan has been on their website for quite some time now. Be honest. Have ever actually looked at it?

“The “circus” as you put it was ANOTHER opportunity wasted by the repubs to bring forth REAL ideas to help the American people. If they failed to do it AGAIN, you blame the President? How is that?????”

The Pres and the Dems took up most of the time…uh,uh, uh, um, uh, uh, uh uh, uh(he sounds awfully funny without his teleprompter there, doesn’t he?) The Pres took the opportunity to interrupt Cantor for printing out a copy of the bills and bringing them with him, claiming it is a stunt. So…it’s a stunt to print out the pc of legislation they came to discuss? This could have been a good event, but when you have a Pres that is egotistical and is taking a “my way or the highway” approach to this, it turns into the circus it became. Even Dem Congressional Aides said this thing was nothing more than a media event, which is true considering everybody in that room knew they were going to take the reconciliation route.

Bob

February 26th, 2010
2:30 pm

reality, Obo chided the repubs for bringing the bill to the meeting, how can you even have a discussion about a bill when you can’t look at the bill. All the dems brought were horror stories. When Louise Slaughter said one of her constituants had to wear her dead sisters dentures, what did that have to do with anything. Obo lied when he said premiums would decrease by 14 to 20 percent. Alexander was right.

Scott

February 26th, 2010
2:32 pm

“Scott – LOL! I knew that you would not stop once I answered your question. TOO predictable!”

I guess I gave you too much credit. I thought you would actually use real math skills that you learn in 2nd grade. I will simplify it for a person with a 2nd grade mentality….. Reality… when the second number is greater than the first number, that means the second number is more. That means the number increased from the first one. When a number goes up, that is an increase.

Bob

February 26th, 2010
2:32 pm

reality, why should the top 19% of income earners pay 40% of the tax burden ?

Scott

February 26th, 2010
2:34 pm

Bob…dead on. Reality(lack of) has no clue. I have no idea what color the sky is in his world.

Scott

February 26th, 2010
2:35 pm

Bob….. OR why should the top 50 pay 95%. Reality(lack of) claims to want fairness but he cannot understand how unfair those percentages are.

Granny Godzilla

February 26th, 2010
2:44 pm

The Republicans used to believe in a lot of good things.

oh and

Library Jim

Bidens comment was in refernce to what the GOP called the nuclear option back then…..and it was not reconciliation it was the possibility of ending the filibuster rule for that specific term.

Robert

February 26th, 2010
2:45 pm

Reality- I am apolitical and for the common men and women. It is much too easy to say “for” or “against” healthcare reform. The majority of folk want well thought out, transparent, and for the people heathcare/ insurance reform. To jump on any political train of “we are right-you are wrong” should be left to the small minded and silly and is similar to cheering for your favorite football team.

Reality

February 26th, 2010
2:46 pm

Bob and Scott: LOL! Your percentages change with every post. If you cannot get your own story straight, what exactly do you expect me to do?

Scott

February 26th, 2010
2:46 pm

Cynthia…more about Gregg on the issue….

From Politifact….Although he was for reconciliation in the past, he also acknowledges it and explains why.

[First, it's important to recognize that in his statements about reconciliation over the past two weeks, Gregg has been upfront about his support of the policy in the past. But he has consistently said that what's different this time is that it is being talked about as a way to slam through major initiatives — health care reform and the cap-and-trade plan to limit industries' carbon emissions, which is likely to result in higher energy costs to consumers.

"Sometimes over the years (reconciliation) has been used in an aggressive way," Gregg said. "It was used to adjust already existing programs, authorized programs, entitlement programs, and tax proposals. President Bush used it aggressively on taxes. In 1997, President Clinton used it aggressively along with a Republican Congress on everything — entitlement and taxes. But it was always directed at existing policy and adjusting that policy. In other words, raising the tax rate or dropping the tax rate, changing an entitlement program in some way that already existed or not changing an entitlement program.

"Reconciliation has never been used for the purposes of putting in place a dramatic new federal program which will fundamentally shift the way the government functions in this country," Gregg said. "It has never been used in the sense as an initiating event. The carbon tax or the national sales tax on electric bills is a massive exercise in industrial policy, totally redirecting how energy is produced in this nation and affecting everybody in this nation. ... Obviously rewriting the health care system of this country is a dramatic exercise affecting absolutely everyone in this nation at all sorts of different levels, a brand-new major program. These are initiatives of significant size and import." ]

Reality

February 26th, 2010
2:48 pm

Robert – I agree with your last post. Except that we do want healthcare reform – I do think that this is a certainty with the majority of Americans. And, yes, it needs to be well thought out and the right thing to do FOR THE PEOPLE, not the insurance companys, not just for the wealthy, and not to maintain the status quo.

ctucker

February 26th, 2010
2:52 pm

Scott, “Slam through” is in the eyes of the beholder. Welfare reform was a major new federal initiative, passed with reconciliation. BTW, health care IS existing policy. We already have Medicare, Medicaid, S-CHIP. Gregg is going through some verbal gymnastics to try to make health care reform different, but it isn’t.

Granny Godzilla

February 26th, 2010
2:52 pm

COBRA stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985

i like cobra, right now it’s protecting my pregnant daughter,

Reality

February 26th, 2010
2:53 pm

Scott – Regarding your lengthy quote: I don’t think that healthcare reform will “fundamentally shift the way the government functions in this country”. To me, that is an obvious overstatement intended to exploit people’s emotions against reform.

Scott

February 26th, 2010
2:54 pm

“Bob and Scott: LOL! Your percentages change with every post. If you cannot get your own story straight, what exactly do you expect me to do?”
What are you talking about? My numbers have not changed at all. it’s always been that amount. Ohhhhh…….I know….I forgot I am talking with somebody with a 2nd grade mentality. Now Reality(lack of)…these things are called percentages. You can have varying degrees of percentages. I am speaking about the top 50% earners while Bob was talking about the top 19%. Now, because we are adding more people into my Top 50%, they will pay more taxes, or 95% of the nation’s total tax burden. I know, it must be hard for you. Alot of learning for one day. I am confident you can figure it out and be able to tell us how it is FAIR to have such inequality regarding the tax burden.

Reality

February 26th, 2010
2:55 pm

ctucker – Thank you! That is what I was trying to say in my last post. But, as usual, you state things very eloquently.

Reality

February 26th, 2010
2:56 pm

Scott – As I have ALREADY said (and you cannot seem to understand), this blog is not about taxation. It is about healthcare reform. Get it?

Scott

February 26th, 2010
2:58 pm

Cynthia, I am curious about one thing though. Didn’t Obama say he was going to change how things are run in Washington? If we have always done this reconciliation to get things through, how is he “changing” things? I thought that was one of his big things on his platform…that and transparency right, which we all know how that promise is panning out too.

RLJ

February 26th, 2010
2:58 pm

I tried to link to it on a previous post, but apparently it got stuck in moderation. FactCheck.org has pointed out that while Republicans did use reconciliation, scholars say that it is has never been used for anything as ambitious as the healthcare bill. Also, while most Americans want reform, the split is 43-43 on the current legislation.

Scott

February 26th, 2010
3:00 pm

Reality(lack of),

“Scott – As I have ALREADY said (and you cannot seem to understand), this blog is not about taxation. It is about healthcare reform. Get it?”

This is where you disconnected. How is this being paid for? With tax INCREASES!!!! Even the obama administration and Congress has said so. And NO, they are not referring to the expiration of the tax breaks for EVERYBODY!!! Do YOU get it?

Scott

February 26th, 2010
3:02 pm

RLJ, don’t bother. They aren’t going to understand. Cynthia will just apply words like “verbal gymnastics” at time when it is convenient for her to do so. When Dems do the same thing, everything is fine though.

Dickiburton

February 26th, 2010
3:06 pm

Enter your comments here

Curios

February 26th, 2010
3:07 pm

So what Cynthia. No one is saying it is right regardless of what party is in control. The rules of congress are there for a reason. Republicans are just as guilty as being hypocrits as democrats. Do you think showing us this video justifies passing health care in this manner?? Reconciliation is an absolutely pathetic excuse for passing a bill that most people in congress don’t want passed as well as the general public.

Reality

February 26th, 2010
3:14 pm

Curios – It is a leap of faith to state that most people in Congress do not want to see this bill passed. Isn’t why they vote? They have not yet voted, and so how could you know for sure?

Also, I strongly disagree with you about the general public not wanting healthcare reform. The vast majority of the general public DOES want healthcare reform.

Granny Godzilla

February 26th, 2010
3:16 pm

i never thought majority rule was “pathetic”.

i always though it was a good idea.

still do.

Curios

February 26th, 2010
3:18 pm

Ok Reality, let me rephrase. The majority of the public doesn’t want the current bill to be passed. My mistake. I think healthcare should be reformed but not the way the democrats want it to be.

Curios

February 26th, 2010
3:21 pm

Granny, majority rule is not how congress handles bills, so if you can’t pass a bill because of lack of popularity, and in turn have to use a backdoor loophole to break the rules, it isn’t a good idea.

Congress has to abide by the rules set forth for it follow.

Granny Godzilla

February 26th, 2010
3:24 pm

actually Curios, it does sometimes and it’s perfectly legal.

no back door loophole, no slight of hand….

oh and part of the rules of congress is that they can change the rules of congress. it’s in the rules.

Citizen of the World

February 26th, 2010
3:30 pm

The majority of Americans do want health care reform, and anyone who pays attention beyond Fox News and right-wing talk radio knows this.

DebbieDoRight

February 26th, 2010
3:32 pm

If my AGI stays the same from last year to this year and I pay more in taxes this year than last year, did my tax burden increase?

It depends. Did you change your W4? Did you take money out of your 401K? What did your stocks look like? Did your “county/state/city” raise your taxes? Did your property change? Did your spouse earn income too (or more income) this year? Lots of variables not much in info given; AGI is not the only determinate of how much taxes you pay.

DebbieDoRight

February 26th, 2010
3:39 pm

Scott: Yesterday, we had a circus event where obama pretty much repeated the process from the beginning. Please explain how the reps were allowed to have ANY input when they weren’t even invited to the party.

Scott, they’ve had input, howeve their ideas are bad and doesn’t add up to the mathematics. In essence, the Republicans are just touting sound bites but not really trying to come up with any meaningful ideas. For instance: If they were so gung ho about saving american money and revamping the healthcare industry, why didn’t they do it when they had a super majority (senate, congress, white house), or even MENTION it when they had a chance? why NOW do they come up with these “great ideas” and why don’t their ideas add up when you do the math?