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February 10, 2011

Live Via Reconciliation, Die Via Reconcilliation: GOP Only Needs 51 Votes (and a New President) to Repeal ObamaCare

Karl Rove writes about this as if it's an innovation -- I thought this was obviously the route we'd take. Democrats can't really lobby the parliamentarian that it's unfair to include ObamaCare in a reconciliation bill because, um, precedent. That's how it became law. So it can be unmade this way too.

But I guess this is news.

ouse of Representatives.

The Budget Act of 1974 established the reconciliation process. The House and Senate Budget Committees can direct other committees to make changes in mandatory spending (like ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies) and the tax code (such as ObamaCare's levies on insurance policies, hospitals and drug companies) to make spending and revenue conform with the goals set by the annual budget resolution.

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Associated Press

President Obama signing the health care bill last March.


For example, under reconciliation the Senate Budget Committee could instruct the Senate Finance Committee to reduce mandatory spending on insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion. These two items make up more than 90% of spending in ObamaCare. All the changes from all the committees are then bundled into one measure and voted upon. Because reconciliation is protected by the rules of the budget process, it doesn't take 60 votes to bring it up and it requires only a simple majority to pass.

Will this 51-vote strategy work? One long-time GOP budget whiz, embarrassed he hadn't thought of this, told me it would. Another Republican veteran of the budget wars agreed, though she had some concerns that certain elements of ObamaCare, such as some insurance provisions, might be beyond the reach of reconciliation. For example, would reconciliation allow Republicans to kill the requirement that younger, healthier workers pay higher premiums than they rightly should to keep premiums for older workers lower?

The snag is that reconciliation is used to reduce the deficit -- and the Democrats have that faked-up CBO report (which even the CBO doesn't stand behind) that says ObamaCare reduces the deficit, so I think there may be hurdle in getting a CBO report that says the opposite. But we can game the system and add "legislation" that will never come to be and create a series of implausible scenarios... just like the Democrats did to get their fake number.

Our fake number will have the benefit of being true.


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posted by Ace at 12:06 PM

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