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On Reconciliation

September 1, 2009

On Reconciliation…

Sen. Judd Gregg, who has taken a preliminary look at how much of a health-care bill could be moved through the budget reconciliation process in the Senate, thus making it unnecessary to get 60 votes. He thinks big parts of it won’t qualify.

This involves parliamentary arcana, so bear with me. The Byrd rule determining what qualifies for reconciliation says, among other things, that a provision must have more than a merely incidental budgetary impact, i.e. it has to be a real budgetary measure and not a policy change that you hope to hustle through reconciliation just because it’s easier.

Looking at the Kennedy bill as a test case, Gregg thinks the public option clearly wouldn’t meet this test. It’s essentially a policy event, not a budget event. Neither would the so-called “gateways” or exchanges, the insurance market reforms (guaranteed issue, etc.), or the 84 new authorized programs in the bill. What most obviously meet the test are the tax increases and the Medicare cuts.

Ultimately, the Senate parliamentarian makes the call. But it’s clear that reconciliation isn’t the simple expedient for pushing through health-care legislation that some are portraying it to be.

On ObamaCare…Consumer fraud.

In a few words, Obama and Obamacare are the number one and number two consumer frauds, respectively.

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