Apparently the TeeVee people (in their role in the infinite feedback loop with wingnut bloggers, of course) have decided that the use of reconciliation -- something the Senate has done more than twenty times in the 35 year history of the procedure -- is really the "nuclear option" we heard so much about during the 2005 debates over George W. Bush's judicial nominees.
Trust me. I've probably written on the nuclear option more than any other blogger, and it's no more valid a claim than any birther has ever screeched about.
The comparison is frankly pretty stupid. What made the nuclear option nuclear was that there was no provision for it in the rules. And what makes reconciliation reconciliation, of course, is that it's authorized by statute.
Yes, reconciliation is more than just a procedure hidden away in the Senate rules somewhere. It's a matter of law. Specifically, the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C. § 641(e)(2)). Yes, that's right. As a matter of federal law, you can pass a reconciliation bill with just 51 votes. Because 2 U.S.C. § 641(e)(2) specifically limits -- by law -- debate in the Senate on reconciliation bills to 20 hours. Which means you can't filibuster it. Which means that it gets an up-or-down vote (remember those?), with no 60 vote threshold required. Plain old majority rules.
Which makes you pretty much an idiot for confusing the two. Like the guys in this Media Matters report did.
Now, that said, there's a way to turn reconciliation into a nuclear-like option. I outline it here. They probably should consider doing it to you. But they won't.
So, no. Reconciliation is nothing like the nuclear option, which is all about ignoring the rules as opposed to, you know, following federal law.
It's so simple, you can even Tweet it: Nuclear option = throw out the rules. Reconciliation = comply with federal law. Kinda different.
I understand that that's been a problem for some of you guys. But not everyone is that dumb.