"...reconciliation cannot be used to pass comprehensive health care reform. It won't work. It won't work because it was never designed for that kind of significant legislation. It was designed for deficit reduction... The major package of health care reform cannot move through the reconciliation process. It will not work... It will not work because of the Byrd rule which says anything that doesn't score for budget purposes has to be eliminated. That would eliminate all the delivery system reform, all the insurance market reform, all of those things the experts tell us are really the most important parts of this bill. The only possible role that I can see for reconciliation would be make modest changes in the major package to improve affordability, to deal with what share of Medicaid expansion the federal government pays, those kinds of issues, which is the traditional role for reconciliation in health care."
More from a longer CBS piece, found here.
While headlines today, via memeorandum, are full of things like "Pelosi Says She'll Get Votes Needed for Health Bill," and "Pelosi: Lawmakers Should Sacrifice Jobs for Health Care", the very real problem for Democrats is they are floating the idea of using reconciliation to jam through their Obamacare bills, despite the fact that the majority of the American people are opposed to the plans currently on the table and Conrad has just made it clear that while they can use that option very modestly, they cannot use it for the sweeping, massive bills they are pushing for.
As chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Conrad would know.
Video below is the Face The Nation segment where House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn) all discuss the issue.
It is a 23 minute video, so for those interested in just the portion dealing with reconciliation, it starts at approximately 15:30 minutes in, just move the lever on the bottom of the video to go directly to that part.