Skip to comments.Reconciliation...What The Nuclear Option Really Means
Posted on 03/03/2010 3:55:41 PM PST by Neoavatara
Obama clearly announced today plans on using the nuclear option, and will attempt to pass health care via reconciliation.
This is a complicated and archaic process. It was never really intended for legislation of this scope. Senator Judd Gregg compared the current Democratic effort to those undertaken in the past is like comparing using a firecracker with a nuclear weapon...[the Democrats health-care bill is] an exercise in changing 16 percent of the American economy. Gregg called Obamacare the most complex policy weve ever dealt with in my time in Congress. However, technically it isn't against the rules to use reconciliation for such purposes, it does come with great risks and hurdles.
(Excerpt) Read more at neoavatara.com ...
Other than it will destroy the Senate it’s a bad idea for our republic. We do not want to turn into a authoritarian majority democracy like Venezuela.
The progressives have already taken out the States with the 17th Amendment — and the unfunded mandates never seem to stop.
If they do indeed to go to the so-called nuclear option, they'll just pass the original House bill because Rule 22, also known as the filibuster, would be ended with a parliamentary maneuver.
The Dems might try Budget Reconciliation, but they aren't going to go Nuclear.
If the Democrats hold a vote on a Senate health care reform bill and they pass it with less than 60 votes, then the outcome is illegitimate. The bill needs 60 votes to pass.
Republicans need to be unified in getting this message out to the American public and the public needs to make sure to contact Democrats who can be persuaded that it’s in their best interest to not participate in such an illegitimate process. They need to know that there is a very good chance they’ll be kicked out of office this November if they go along with their Democrat leaders in this corruption.
What do you suppose the liberals will be saying about the nuclear option when the majority shifts back to the Republicans? They’ll be attacking it like this week never happened, with the full support of the MSM.
With less than 60 votes, if my understanding is correct, then they will never get to vote on the bill because they will not have the votes for “cloture” or to end the debate on the floor.
Simple, no place to store the nuclear waste, now that we have mothballed Yucca Mountain.
Under the Budget Reconciliation process, there is no cloture vote. There is 20 hours of debate, that's it. Theoretically, after 20 hours of debate, the GOP could then offer an "unlimited" number of amendments. Biden, as the President of the Senate, could rule everyone of those amendments as dilatory. What happens next is anyone's guess, because the President of the Senate has never inserted himself into the Reconciliation Process, since its inception in 1974.
There hasn't been a VP overrule the Senate parliamentarian for any matter since Humphry did back in the 60's.
The whole thing from the bill itself to how it gets passed using reconciliation will get ripped to shreds in the courts as unconstitutional.
I’ve been sending letters, email, and snail mail to my Dem Senators, getting talking points from Patti Murrey, and no answer from Cantwell. They refuse to listen, leaving us two options, starve the beast or war.
Actually, the term “Nuclear Option” can apply to any attempt to get around the 60 vote, “cloture” rule.
I understand your point, but I don’t think the term, “nuclear” is misplaced, here, as that term is slang, anyway.
Brett: Will the House vote to pass the Senate Bill?
Charles K: (hesitatingly) Yes.
Brett: And then does it get through?
Charles K: No - Stopped in the Senate.
Well I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be lecturing Krauthammer on the working of the U.S. Congress but I am shocked at his answer. In fact I'm shocked at Brett's question. Neither seems to realize that if the House votes for the Senate Bill it goes to the White House for Obama's signature and it becomes LAW. It really doesn't matter what the Senate does after that. The Reconciliation Bill just changes elements of the Senate Bill. If those changes aren't made the Senate doesn't care and Obama doesn't care - he'll settle for the Senate version of the bill and be quite happy.
Maybe a slight disagreement in terms...
I always thought the term "nuclear option" was coined when referring to the Repbulicans getting the parliamentarian to rule on a decision (in that case that the filibuster did not pertain to judicial nominations), and then Senate votes on the ruling by the parliamentarian, and then the President of the Senate (the Vice-President) overrules the vote if it goes negative because it is about a point of order (or something like that).
The fact that it was in regards to the filibuster does not limit the "nuclear option" to being about the filibuster.
In this case, the "nuclear option" is to appeal to the parliamentarian that the business is appropriate for the reconciliation process (which it is not). I expect the parliamentarian to rule that it is, the Senate to vote to accept the ruling, and it ends there.
While I think there are several items in this proposed legislation that will be found unconstitutional - namely the individual mandate - how it's actually passed won't be measured by the Court. There's long standing precedent, based primarily on the separation of powers, that doesn't allow for judicial review of Congressional interpretation of its own rules.
IOW, the Judiciary will review the sausage, but won't review how the sausage is made - at least they haven't yet. And, from a purely conservative and originalitist's standpoint, I don't think we want the judiciary to carve out for itself any more power than it already has with Marbury.
Not exactly. The so-called "nuclear option" (as coined by Trent Lott, of all people) is a parliamentary maneuver going back to the early 1800. Without wading too far into the reeds, it's really about doing away with Rule 22 by actually changing the Senate rules. It would kill the filibuster, probably forever.
The Budget Reconciliation process has only been around since 1974, by way of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. It was amended a couple times, most recently in the 80's with a rule that came to be known as "the Byrd Rule". Byrd didn't like how the process was being used, so he crafted some limits.
"In this case, the "nuclear option" is to appeal to the parliamentarian that the business is appropriate for the reconciliation process"
Kind of. Before the bill come to the floor for a vote, the Senate Parliamentarian will evaluate every provision of the bill, and he has unilateral power to strike whatever provisions he deems not conforming to the Byrd rules. BUT, the President of the Senate - Biden in this instance - has the power to unilateral overrule the Senate Parliamentarian. If the GOP wants to overrule the President of the Senate, they have to come up with 60 votes - of course, that's not going to happen.
I guess if you want to call that "nuclear", then it's nuclear. Certainly, Reconciliation has been used before. But, since its inception in 1974, the President of the Senate HAS NEVER overruled the Senate Parliamentarian. Trent Lott fired the former Parliamentarian because he didn't like the rulings he got, but Dick Cheney refused to intervene, with good reason.
I think the Republican needed it because they could not guarantee they would get a majority vote with Lincoln Chafee, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins likely to vote with Democrats. Hence, the maneuver where the parliamentarian rules and the VP overrules.
I know, it is different...though Republicans are equating the two, so I figured I might as well.
I didn't think you were haggling. It is confusing, and I've studied the issue both professionally and as a hobby. I just learned something new yesterday. I didn't think that Biden could unilaterally overrule the Senate Parliamentarian, that had been my understanding for years. But apparently - according to Robert Dove, the former Senate Parliamentarian - he indeed can.
What Bill Frist was threatening with the judicial appointments was something of a parliamentary trick - changing the Senate rules based on arcane and seldom-used point-of-order procedures.
It's just that what the Democrats are threatening to do now, is an entirely different parliamentary trick, but with similar but still somewhat a different outcome.
I think it is ok to discuss the meaning of the ‘nuclear option’, but that said...I think we all know what I intended by my post. No offense...but we have bigger issues to worry about than semantics.
No problem. I just like to point out the difference just so people know that there are indeed two different options. Even if - for whatever reason - the Budget Reconciliation process falls through, the Dems could still try to pass the original House bill using the "real" nuclear option in the Senate.
I don't think that would happen, but I really didn't think it would get this far, either.
No offense... but you're joking, right?
After eight years of Bill Clinton's parsing of what the meaning of "is" is, you learn that these people live and breathe the semantics.
The whole strategy of the nuclear option is a semantic reading of the parliamentarian rules of order.
Obama's wordcrafting is nothing but semantics. That's why he stutters so much while speaking -- he's grappling with finding the "just right" word to use in the situation that he can't converse fast enough for normal conversation.
You can't ignore the semantics, or you will be blindsided by these people.
[With less than 60 votes, if my understanding is correct, then they will never get to vote on the bill because they will not have the votes for cloture or to end the debate on the floor.]
According to the rules, correct.
But it seems the Democrats are planning to break the Senate rules. Since they know they can’t get the Senate bill passed in The House, as is, they are going to use the budget reconciliation process to pass a different House bill and then modify the Senate bill to merge the two together. According to the rules, they would then need to pass the new bill again in the Senate with 60 votes, but since budget bills only need 51 votes they plan to pass it as if it were a budget bill. ILLEGAL - but this is their plan.
They won't go through reconciliation until they get the promise of future corrective action from the Senate. Why anyone would accept a Democratic Senate promise is beyond me.
According to post 7, there is no cloture or 60 vote requirement, only 20 hours of debate followed by amendments to the bill where at that time the Republicans can inundate the measure with numerous amendments requiring a vote on each one.. Michele Malkin is calling it a “vote-a-rama”.
It depends. Considering the Senate bill has already been passed all it needs to do is pass the house in identical form. Then it goes to the President to sign into law.
However, the Dems don’t have anywhere near enough votes to pass the House because too many House Dems want to be re-elected in November.
Since the Democrat leadership knows this, they are trying to get a different bill passed in the House and then “reconcile” them afterward. Following this plan, they would then need to bring the new bill back up in the Senate where it would again need 60 votes. But the Dems want to bypass Senate rules and claim that it would only need 51 (because they are calling it a “budget” bill.
I am slowly getting better at this “tracking”, which is BS. The newest talking point is that Republicans have used this procedure (I won’t call it a rule since sticking it in your keester is also a procedure) saying both Bush tax cuts and Medicare part D were done this way (and I don’t know that for sure). I saw a tea party sign that said “Save a trillion dollars....lay Congress off now!”
[In order to make it “legal,” they are planning to pass what thay can get away with under reconciliation, with the promise from the Senate Democrats to fix what they couldn’t do under reconciliation at a later date.
They won’t go through reconciliation until they get the promise of future corrective action from the Senate. Why anyone would accept a Democratic Senate promise is beyond me.]
I see that one theory is the Democrat leadership will try to get the Senate bill passed in the House by promising the recalcitrant moderate House Dems that they will modify the Bill in reconciliation in order to come in line with their demands.
But if the House does pass the Senate bill then there is nothing to stop the leadership from sending it right to Obama’s desk for him to sign into law. Of course, that will double cross the House Dems and they will likely be kicked out of office in droves in November - but why should the Democrat leadership care as long as they get to take over the health care industry? They’ll gladly give up the House and the Senate (temporarily) in exchange for that.
[The newest talking point is that Republicans have used this procedure (I wont call it a rule since sticking it in your keester is also a procedure) saying both Bush tax cuts and Medicare part D were done this way (and I dont know that for sure).]
They’re just lying. The only time the Republicans have used the budget reconciliation process is for budget bills.
Here is an earlier post of mine showing Harry Reid's history of reneging on deals.
Senator Judd Gregg compared the current Democratic effort to those undertaken in the past "is like comparing using a firecracker with a nuclear weapon...[the Democrats' health-care bill is] an exercise in changing 16 percent of the American economy."
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.