So much for “slamming on the breaks.” My friend Chris Hayes at The Nation is hearing from his Capitol Hill sources that Democrats are actively plotting to use the so-called reconciliation process to ram through their widely unpopular, ghastly health-care bill:
After spending much of yesterday talking to folks on capitol hill, it’s clear there is increasingly consensus on a path forward: As I explained last night on Rachel Maddow, it involves a few steps, but is relatively straightforward. The House has to come up with a list of changes to the Senate bill that will get them to 218 votes (and will also pass muster with the procedural constraints of “reconciliation”. For more on that you can listen to last week’s episode of The Breakdown.) They then send those changes to the Senate leadership, which can pass them through reconciliation, a process that requires a simple majority. Once that process has moved forward or (better!) is completed, the House can then pass in quick succession the Senate bill, and the amended fix.
Now that’s it, clear reconciliation is the only real option forward, we’re suddenly operating in this bizarre alien universe where majority rules. So when I read Ben Nelson this morning expressing his discomfort with reconciliation I took great satisfaction in the fact that his opinion on the matter was more or less meaningless. It was always the razor thin 60 vote majority in the Senate that produced the agonizingly slow process of death by a thousand cuts. But that is, in the world of reconciliation, no longer operative.
Now is not the time for conservatives to be patting ourselves on the back, mindlessly basking in Scott Brown’s victory, or prematurely pronouncing the legislation dead. If Hayes’s sources are right, citizens should start lobbying <a href="http://www.dickmorris.com/blog/2010/01/26/711/-711″>vulnerable Democratic congressman now, and the Republican Senate leadership should get the amendment carnival locked and loaded.
UPDATE: Dick Morris is hearing similar things.