Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Recent History Of Reconciliation For Health Care

Ever since Democrats considered reforming health care, Republicans and conservatives quickly made America think that Democrats would need a super-majority to pass any legislation and labeled a process known as reconciliation as the "nuclear option," in which they railed against it's potential use as undemocratic and wrong, despite it's use in the past by not only Republicans, but also for health care related legislation. I have seen reports of bills that used the process that Republicans supported and those bills were not met with such animosity. Some reconciliation bills that were passed during Republican majorities in congress between 1994 and 2006 included the following:
* Balanced Budget Act of 1995, H.R. 2491 (vetoed December 6, 1995)
* Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, Pub.L. 104-193 (1996)
* Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Pub.L. 105-33 (1997)
* Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, Pub.L. 105-34 (1997)
* Taxpayer Refund and Relief Act of 1999, H.R. 2488 (vetoed September 23, 1999)
* Marriage Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2000, H.R. 4810 (vetoed August 5, 2000)
* Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), Pub.L. 107-16 (2001)
* Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, Pub.L. 108-27 (2003)
* Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Pub.L. 109-171 (2006)
* Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 (TIPRA), Pub.L. 109-222 (2006)
NPR's Morning Edition had pointed out today a thirty year history of reconciliation bills that had made major changes to health care, 3 of which were conducted during the Republican majorities in Congress.  This raises the question as to why Republicans are dead set to oppose any bill.  If you recall last year, they were against any bill that would have garnered all sixty Democratic votes because it would not be bipartisan enough, and then the Republicans solidified as a party, determined to say no.  Once Senator Kennedy passed away, Republicans then focused against the possibility of using reconciliation to pass legislation, claiming it to be undemocratic, even though it would still require a majority of votes in the Senate to pass.  In my opinion, it appears that the Republicans are dragging their feet, hoping to delay passage of any bill until after the midterm elections because it is believed Republicans may pick up a couple seats, in which they would have more leverage and political capital.  Republicans have no interest in working with Democrats to compose a bill.  Republicans are only interested in bcoming the majority party once again and passing their bill.

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