A Question and Perhaps a (Cynical) Reconciliation Strategy

Hi, this is my first diary, although I've been reading this site since before Bush-Kerry. I consider myself reasonably plugged in to the current health care debate, but I'm not plugged in enough to answer this question:

Is there any reason why the reconciliation strategy would preclude a provision for, e.g., troop funding, in addition to the compromise language between the House and Senate bills? If the House is leery of the Senate burning them, why not make them an offer they can't refuse? Include a reasonably non-trivial amount of funding for more body armor, or ammunition, or weaponry for the troops in Iraq. I would guess the Blue Dogs would vote en masse (or close to it) and could potentially pick up quite a few Republican votes in the House. I don't know how many conservative Democrats would want to cast a vote that their opponent could easily frame as a vote against the troops in an election year, but my guess is, fewer than the number who would otherwise vote the bill down.

The same considerations apply in the Senate, particularly for some of our southern friends who are eager to distance themselves (er, herself) from Democrats in Congress. Getting some moderate Republican support (Yes, that is pretty close to an oxymoron) would be at least theoretically possible, and under reconciliation, we don't need any of their votes anyway. Senators up for reelection would be terrified of voting this bill down, and perhaps at a minimum, would at least curtail their rhetoric (designed to scare House Democrats) of doing anything in their power to kill the bill with endless amendments.

So please answer me:

1. Am I correct that one reconciliation bill can be used for various "subjects?"

2. If yes, would it cover a funding INCREASE, or is reconciliation used only for spending cutes?

3. As to the merits, whaddaya think?



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1 Comment

It won't work

1. No reconciliation can only be used for stuff that affects the Budget. It can be used for other stuff, but that stuff would be subject to the regular 60 vote threshold.

2. Depends on the Budget rules set-up at the start of each Congress. In this case the rules state that it can only be used for a deficit decrease. Sure you can increase spending, but only if you raise revenue too so the net effect is negative.

3. It won't work. One might as well argue for including HCR as an amendment to some Iraq appropriations bill - No Health Care, and the troops get no funds! Ya, that wasn't tried for a reason.

by vecky 2010-03-09 03:06AM | 0 recs


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