Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 3, 2010

A WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE.... In Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R-Utah) borderline-pathological op-ed yesterday, he made a variety of ridiculous claims, but this one about reconciliation continues to be of interest.

Reconciliation was designed to balance the federal budget. Both parties have used the process, but only when the bills in question stuck close to dealing with the budget. In instances in which other substantive legislation was included, the legislation had significant bipartisan support.

Now, on its face, that seems rather odd. Reconciliation has been used for non-budgetary matters, Hatch argued, but only when the legislation enjoyed "significant" bipartisan support. But if the bills had "significant" bipartisan support, why couldn't they be passed through regular order? Why bother with limiting votes to majority rule if there's already plenty of support?

Perhaps because Hatch is lying. Rachel Maddow highlighted this in a segment last night, and Ezra Klein had a good post on this today.

Among the odder arguments Republicans are making against the reconciliation process is that the process should only be used for bipartisan bills, and since they refuse to vote for health-care reform, Democrats can't give their package of fixes an up-or-down vote.

But reconciliation hasn't been limited to bipartisan bills. Here's the recent record: The 1995 Balanced Budget Act was passed in reconciliation. The final vote was 52 to 47. The 2001 Bush Tax Cut was passed in reconciliation. The final vote was 58 to 33. The 2003 Bush Tax Cut was passed in reconciliation. The final vote was 50 to 50, with Dick Cheney casting the tie-breaking vote. The 2005 Deficit Reduction Act was also passed in reconciliation with a 50 to 50 vote and a Cheney intervention. The 2006 Tax Relief Extensions Act was passed in reconciliation. The final vote was 54 to 44.

After reading this, I tried to think of a single Republican talking point related to the health care reform debate that was accurate and fair. I honestly couldn't think of one.

Steve Benen 3:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (13)

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Why should they say anything true or honest? Their every lie is reported as truth. Only Rachel will call them liars. Not even the Dems will call out their lies.

The Rs goal is to make everyone hate government, so they vote against the incumbents in Nov. The Rs know that in their ignorant states (I'm looking at you, MS, TX, LA, AL, OK), they are safe -- they can go to hookers and still be re-elected. And the Ds just play along.

Posted by: Dems lose huge in 2010 on March 3, 2010 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Though no friend of Hatch (he has always struck me as a man who never farts)
he said:
Reconciliation was designed to balance the federal budget. Both parties have used the process, but only when the bills in question stuck close to dealing with the budget.

The bills you cite do all seem to be around tax and budget matters.

Posted by: aeolius on March 3, 2010 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

After reading this, I tried to think of a single Republican talking point related to the health care reform debate that was accurate and fair. I honestly couldn't think of one.

That statement could be applied to just about every talking point the Rethugs ever come up with. But as "Dems" points out above, our "liberal media" will just keep passing on their lies verbatum without even the most cursory check of the facts. It's just ridiculous.

Posted by: electrolite on March 3, 2010 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

According to Think Progress the Chamber of Commerce is getting ready to blanket the airwaves with ads to kill health reform. Also, it is very troubling that they think that 3 of the bailed out banks that owe lots and lots of taxpayer money to the government (our tax dollars) are funneling money to the Chamber.There must be someone who can get this in the media!

Posted by: JS on March 3, 2010 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP is phoning it in on health care reform. They are not spending real staff time and effort on the issue, but just repeat whatever lame talking points they have lying around the office when asked to appear for an interview. They have been beaten; they know it; they are just playing out their hand. The only thing that drags this out is the Dems disunity about some of the details. But until the Dems get their act together, the media is going to keep coming to the GOP leaders and asking them why they oppose the bill. So they have to come up with some bullshit or another. It's pitiful. Pass the Damn Bill and put them out of their misery and let them get back to work trying to find some tax that they can cut, or some country they can invade, or some prisoner they can torture.

Posted by: tom in ma on March 3, 2010 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

I must have been living in a cave. I thought that when the two houses of Congress passed two similar but differing bills, it went to reconciliation. Who knew that we were on the path to Naziism, Stalinism, Death Panels, America hating Muslim Presidents, and the end of the US Senate? If even 1/2 of this were to be true, don't the repubs owe us a historic appology for leading us here?

Posted by: JoeW on March 3, 2010 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

"According to Think Progress the Chamber of Commerce is getting ready to blanket the airwaves with ads to kill health reform."-JS

Yeah, that's a super idea; because everyone knows that small business thinks it's health care costs are peachy keen, just the way they are.

Unless, of course their 'health care plan' is giving you unpaid time off to go to the emergency room. . .

Posted by: DAY on March 3, 2010 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, aeolius, you can't argue that most of those uses of reconciliation were about bringing the budget into balance. Several of the Republican uses were to do exactly the opposite, to explode the budget deficit. Certainly the Bush tax cuts did that, as did their measure to extend tax cuts without compensating spending cuts.

Posted by: Joe Buck on March 3, 2010 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

I was about to make Joe Buck's point. Isn't that also the reconciliation that they fired the parliamentarian over, or was the Medicare Part D?

Posted by: dob on March 3, 2010 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

You guys are being ridiculous. It's one thing to use reconciliation to give tax cuts to the wealthy. That's only fair.

But to use it to help cover millions of uninsured Americans? That's socialism.

The former is a moral imperative. The latter is a product of the anti-Christ.

Or maybe I have it backwards. All those Republican talking points have me confused!

Posted by: Naveen on March 3, 2010 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

I tried to think of a single Republican talking point related to the health care reform debate that was accurate and fair. I honestly couldn't think of one.

Well, there was the one about how Obama hates your grandmother. That one's true! He can't stand her.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on March 3, 2010 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

No, no, no - it's pronounced "bipartisan" but it's spelled "buy-partisan." As in "it's OK to use reconciliation to pass significant buy-partisan Republican bills where one or two Democrats buy into the Republican's partisan position."

Posted by: RepubAnon on March 3, 2010 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK


Republicans are the worst liars and hypocrites on earth. And the media seldom call them out. Shameful.

Posted by: jerry on March 6, 2010 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK
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