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March 21, 2010

GOP's Last Attempt: House Reconciliation Bill Is Fatally Flawed And Can't Be Advanced by Senate

Before quoting this, let me make it clear that if the House passes the Senate bill, it proceeds to Obama's desk for a signature (within an hour) and becomes law. So the bill will become law with or without reconciliation. We can block reconciliation in the Senate, but the Senate bill would still be law -- just unmodified by reconciliation.

So the GOP's floating of this objection is an 11th hour attempt to make House Democrats realize reconciliation won't happen, so as to make them vote "No."

Here's the argument:

DON STEWART, McCONNELL SPOKESMAN: “Republicans have been trying to set up a meeting with Senate Democrats since yesterday to discuss this fatal point of order but have been met with nothing but silence. We suspect Democrats are slow walking us so as to have the House vote first. Since Senate Democrats refuse to meet with us and the Parliamentarian, we’ve informed our colleagues in the House that we believe the bill they’re now considering violates the clear language of Section 310g of the Congressional Budget Act, and the entire reconciliation bill is subject to a point of order and rejection in the Senate should it pass the House.”

BACKGROUND

DEMOCRAT LEADERSHIP RELEASE: “The Congressional Budget Office estimate of the health care legislation shows an increase in Social Security revenues… CBO projects that the resulting increase in wages will generate $29 billion in additional FICA contributions to the Social Security Trust Fund.” (“Health Care Reform Update,” Office of Rep. Steny Hoyer, 3/21/10)

CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT: “LIMITATION ON CHANGES TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any reconciliation bill or reconciliation resolution reported pursuant to a concurrent resolution on the budget agreed to under section 301 or 304, or a joint resolution pursuant to section 258C of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, or any amendment thereto or conference report thereon, that contains recommendations with respect to the old-age, survivors, and disability insurance program established under title II of the Social Security Act.” (Congressional Budget Act Of 1974, Sec. 310g, P. 31)


So, I think, the attempt to divert SS payments into this bill is illegal (and of course it's a gimmick in the first place to get a better CBO number, once again double-counting a revenue source) and so the reconciliation will fail.

I think that's the claim.


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posted by Ace at 04:26 PM

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