Despite all the road blocks that have been thrown on the road, it looks like Health Care Reform in the United States may be reality. The bill doesn’t go as far as it should go, but it’s a start.
Both the House and Senate passed their own versions of the bill. In order to make it happen, both houses will be using reconciliation to straighten out the kinks.
For those who don’t know what it is, Reconciliation is a legislative process of the United States Senate intended to allow consideration of a contentious budget bill without the threat of filibuster. It was introduced in 1974 to streamline the debate and amendment process. Reconciliation also exists in the House of Representatives, but because the House regularly passes rules that constrain debate and amendment, the process has had a less significant impact.
Here’s something to think about. In 2001, Republicans, who had a majority in both houses, used it to pass a giant $1.3 trillion tax cut, a centerpiece of President Bush’s economic plan. They used it again in 2003 for a $350 billion tax cut. Both were disasterous and is, in part, why the economy is the way it is today.
This time with the Democrats in charge, Republicans now say reconciliation is a bad idea. It seems like the GOP will enjoy the spoils when it benefits themselves and their rich friends. But don’t you dare think about doing it.
In fact, according to data uncovered by political scientist Joshua Tucker, there were 19 reconciliation bills between 1981 and 2005, “11 of which were signed by Republican presidents, five of which were signed by Democratic presidents, three of which were vetoed by Democratic presidents, and none of which were vetoed by Republican presidents. This would suggest that 14 of the 19 times reconciliation was used between FY 1981–FY 2005, it was used to advance Republican interests.” 1
Both GOP Senators Mitch McConnell (Senator Idiot) and Lamar Alexander supported welfare reform and the Bush tax cuts. At the time, neither seemed to mind that both measures required reconciliation to pass.