Last year, Democrats in Congress used a method called “budget reconciliation” to tweak their health-care bill. Budget reconciliation is a process for passing budget bills that can avoid a Senate filibuster, and Democrats needed it to pass some budget-related changes to the health-care bill. Republicans were apoplectic. Jeffrey H. Anderson, a former Bush-era health-care staffer, fumed:
“Budget reconciliation” prevents use of the filibuster, a feature of the Senate since the early 19th century. The arcane process is designed to help the Senate pass bills that would balance the budget. President Obama would use it to try to pass portions of a $2.5 trillion health-care overhaul without having to get any Republican (or even all Democratic) votes. This is the new era of bipartisanship?
Now Republicans are looking at the very likely prospect of winning the White House and holding the House of Representatives, but not having enough votes to overcome a filibuster in the Senate. If they want to repeal health-care reform, they’ll probably need to use budget reconciliation. Here’s Jeffrey H. Anderson today, demanding that Mitt Romney commit to deploying this tactic once deemed tyrannical:
Most Republican voters believe, with good reason, that Romney stands a strong chance of winning the nomination and beating President Obama. The question is whether he would put repeal front and center—whether he would emphasize it in the general election campaign, and whether he would go to the mat for repeal once in office. Would Romney’s campaign build enough momentum for repeal to achieve 60 votes in the Senate and defeat a potential filibuster? If not, would Romney be willing to advance repeal in the Senate via reconciliation, the complicated and unconventional process that takes only 50 votes but which would also require a far greater expenditure of political capital?
He seems to have forgotten the part about how this would be outrageous and wrong.