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View Diary: The collapse of the reality-based left (133 comments)

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  •  More on reconciliation (0+ / 0-)

    Did some more research. Reconciliation is very problematic. It can only be used for things that relate directly to the budget and size of the deficit as the main purpose of the bill. Any Senator can raise a point of order objecting that a measure does not qualify for consideration under reconciliation because they do not involve expenditures of taxpayer funds or the main purpose of the bill is not to affect the budget or deficit. The insurance reform provisions of the bill -- banning exclusion based on preexisting conditions, allowing people up to 27 to remain covered on parents policies, etc. would be vulnerable to this.

    According to Ezra Klein, it would be up to the Senate Parliamentarian to decide whether or not the provision was eligible for reconciliation. Other sources saying the same thing are here and  here. (Overturning the Presiding officer's decision, which apparently is determined in practice by the Parliamentarian, requires 60 votes. So basically, you're rolling the dice on what the Senate parliamentarian will say passed Byrd rule muster.)

    One possible loophole, according to this Congressional Research Service report, [PDF] the Parliamentarian's rulings are only advisory and the Presiding officer makes the decision. But the Republicans were unable to overturn parliamentarian's rulings they didn't like  when they controlled the Senate. This article  suggests (at the end) that the Vice President, as President of the Senate, could issue rulings disregarding the parliamentarian. But that would open the door to the a future Cheney (shudder)  doing the same thing.

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