Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rove: Democrats Can't Filibuster ObamaCare Repeal - WSJ.com

Interesting read in the Wall Street Journal from Karl Rove this morning - Democrats Can't Filibuster ObamaCare Repeal
Director of the National Economic Council under President George W. Bush, Mr. Hennessey now teaches at Stanford Business School and is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. Last week on his website, KeithHennessey.com, he made the case that congressional Republicans could use the reconciliation process to kill ObamaCare with 51 votes in the Senate and a majority in the House of Representatives.

The Budget Act of 1974 established the reconciliation process. The House and Senate Budget Committees can direct other committees to make changes in mandatory spending (like ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies) and the tax code (such as ObamaCare's levies on insurance policies, hospitals and drug companies) to make spending and revenue conform with the goals set by the annual budget resolution.

For example, under reconciliation the Senate Budget Committee could instruct the Senate Finance Committee to reduce mandatory spending on insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion. These two items make up more than 90% of spending in ObamaCare. All the changes from all the committees are then bundled into one measure and voted upon. Because reconciliation is protected by the rules of the budget process, it doesn't take 60 votes to bring it up and it requires only a simple majority to pass.
I thought that passing the bill the way the Democrats did, under reconciliation, was an abuse of the process. I'd be inclined to feel the same way about attempts to repeal it that way. On the other hand, there would certainly be a poetic justice to that which is not unattractive...

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