Critical Condition

Reconciliation

USA Today: 

Chief among the people who could be involved in the floor fight is Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee. Gregg is particularly worried about a process known as reconciliation, which would allow Democrats to pass a health care bill with a simple majority rather than the 60 votes typically needed to stop a filibuster and move ahead with a final vote on legislation. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on Tuesday that reconciliation for health care is a possibility. “If we can’t work this out to do something within the committee structure, then we’ll be forced to do reconciliation,” Reid said, according to The Hillnewspaper. Reid called the use of the tactic a “last resort.” 

Gregg counters that if Democrats go the reconciliation route the result will be a health care bill that looks like “Swiss cheese.” Republicans could raise points of order, questioning whether certain provisions of the bill meet the criteria for use of reconciliation (namely, whether those provisions affect the budget). The Senate parliamentarian would rule on those questions, potentially jettisoning portions of the bill. 

“It’s like walking into a heart transplant operation with a chain saw,” Gregg said of the reconciliation process. “It would be a very major error in my opinion.” 

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

The Latest