GOP for Reconciliation Before it Was Against It
by Jonathan Singer, Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 08:13:54 AM EDT
With the GOP's top budget negotiator in the Senate, Judd Gregg, moaning about the Democrats' potential use of the reconciliation process to enact healthcare reform legislation, it's worth pointing to a piece from Fox News (of all places) on the love previously shown to reconciliation by none other than Senator Gregg (h/t First Read).
Republicans are not exactly strangers to using the reconciliation process to create new programs. They tried to open drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge in 2005, with Gregg telling reporters at the time: "The president asked for it, and we're trying to do what the president asked for."
Former President George W. Bush got his massive tax cuts through the Senate, as well, when Republicans used the reconciliation tool.
This is one of those fake controversies by the Beltway, of the Beltway and for the Beltway. Everyone in Washington knows that the reconciliation process has been used by Republicans to ram through policy changes in the past, that the current Republican complaints are mere politics rather than legitimate concerns over process. What's more, it is also the case that the American people simply do not care as much about these process debates as do those in the establishment media. If healthcare reform gets passed, voters aren't going to harp on exactly how many votes it took -- a 60-vote supermajority or a 51-vote regular majority -- they are going to focus on what the new legislation means to them and to their country.