Critical Condition

Conrad Backs Reconciliation

Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and a critical centrist in the Senate Democrats’ reconciliation equation, has come out in favor of the 50-vote route (and, perhaps, of blowing-up the filibuster):

The Senate “was not designed to have everything require 60 votes,” Conrad said. “It wasn’t designed to prevent important action on the problems facing the country.” If a supermajority is effectively necessary to pass any piece of legislation, he added, this “puts a great deal of pressure on going to more of a reconciliation process to deal with things.”

Conrad, for one, didn’t sound like a man with doubts about the idea. He said, “Frankly I think we have to reconsider the rules by which this body is governed,” because the Senate “is in danger of becoming dysfunctional,” and “there’s going to be a building demand in the country to change the system.”

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