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Friday, March 19, 2010

Reconciliation Bill Posted

The Politico has the entire 153 page bill posted and highlights the changes to the Senate bill. When sent to the Senate, Democrats will attempt to pass the bill using reconciliation which would allow them to pass these changes with only 51 votes.

Considering Reid could not get the Blue Dog and moderate Democrats on board the first time around with provisions much like those in the House "fixes" bill, linked above, there is no reason to believe he can corral the 51 votes needed from his own party to pass these fixes.

Related news shows that a top Blue Dog Democratic representative, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.), believes that if Pelosi attempts to use the Slaughter Solution and "deem" the Senate bill passed, without an actual vote, to move right on to voting only for the "fixes" reconciliation bill, it will be "poison" to Democrats all around. (Via The Hill)

The co-chairwoman of the Blue Dog Coalition says that using a controversial "deem and pass" mechanism to pass healthcare reform would be "poison."

In a conference call with reporters today, Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.), who is a "firm no" on the bill itself, said the process Democrats are considering would spell disaster for the climate in Congress.

"While deeming, like reconciliation, has been used by Republicans and Democrats in the past, the context in which it would be used in this case leads me to conclude that it would poison an already terribly partisan atmosphere and leave the Congress even less able to find bipartisan solutions to fiscal problems that are on the verge of becoming overwhelming," Herseth Sandlin said.

Hennessey has been going through the bill itself and has found clear violations to the "Byrd rule":

Under the Byrd rule, the Senate is prohibited from considering extraneous matter as part of a reconciliation bill or resolution or conference report thereon. The definition of what constitutes "extraneous matter" is set forth in the Budget Act; however, the term remains subject to considerable interpretation by the presiding officer (who relies on the Senate Parliamentarian). The Byrd rule is enforced when a Senator raises a point of order during consideration of a reconciliation bill or conference report. If the point of order is sustained, the offending title, provision or amendment is deemed stricken unless its proponent can muster a 3/5 (60) Senate majority vote to waive the rule.

From Hennessey:

There are several Byrd rule violations. This means the House will have to vote on this bill twice. The second time would be after Senate Republicans use the Byrd rule to strike these provisions from the bill, then the Senate passes the modified bill and returns it to the House. And no, I won’t tell you where all of them are. Sorry. I don’t want to help the Democrats find and fix them. Some of these are only arguable violations. I have found at least three that are clear violations.

Read the entire thing, that is only the tip of the iceberg.

This whole process may just blow up in Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama's faces.