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health carnage

‘Reconciliation’ Is Now a Dirty Word

Now that all that silly bi-partisan talk is behind us, Democrats are gearing up to pass changes to their health-care legislation through the reconciliation process, which, as you likely know by now, requires only majority support in the Senate instead of a supermajority. This, the Republicans tell America, would betray the very purpose of the hallowed institution by bypassing the minority party's ability to filibuster, and would be especially mean because they came so close to stopping health-care reform with Scott Brown. Except that Republicans have used the reconciliation process many times before — more than Democrats, in fact — and for legislation as vast and consequential as the trillion-dollar Bush tax cuts and welfare reform.

Instead of simply pointing out this glaring hypocrisy and going about their business, the Democrats have decided to get language on their side for once in this health-care debate. To that end, it appears as if a strategic decision has been made to shy away from the word "reconciliation" entirely, which may explain Harry Reid's odd assertion during the health-care summit that "no one has talked about reconciliation" despite the fact that, up to that point, everybody had been. Instead, Democrats have begun relying more on the phrases "simple majority" or "straight up-or-down vote," which represent basic democratic values, supposedly, although one could argue that minority rights is just as much of a core principle. Anyway, persuading the American people that reconciliation is okay won't be much of a victory if voters remain convinced that they're against a bill whose contents they actually support.

Dems dig in for last stand [Politico]

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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images