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Rep. Scott Garrett’s Reconciliation Primer

The idea of “pushing through” the currently proposed health care bill goes against every instinct of American democracy, says the New Jersey congressman.

by
Scott Garrett

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March 11, 2010 - 11:02 am
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The president argues that we have come too far and we are too close to start a new, truly bipartisan health care bill from scratch. This bill will affect every American and every American born for generations to come. How can we say, in good conscience, that this doesn’t deserve every minute of debate, every rewrite, every committee hearing, and every floor vote until it is something comprehensive, fiscally responsible, and economically feasible for every American?

“You’ve given yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion because what you’ve been telling your constituents is, this guy is doing all kinds of crazy stuff that’s going to destroy America,” said President Obama at the GOP Congressional retreat in late January. This is an interesting point, however, it is backwards. Our constituents, the American people we represent, have been telling us, not the other way around, that the administration’s policies are going to destroy America.

Reconciliation

Reconciliation has been getting a lot of attention lately. As a matter of fact, it has been getting all of the attention lately. It is difficult to find a news show, a newspaper, a radio program, or a magazine that hasn’t been talking about this controversial topic. Senate Democrats will be using the only piece of momentum they have left to try to bypass the normal Senate proceedings and force the ensuing disaster that is health care on the American people.

Cramming an overwhelming government overhaul through the Senate without a thorough conversation is a disservice to the American people. The Senate needs 60 votes to break a filibuster and with a unified Republican caucus standing up for taxpayers and responsible spending, the majority in the Senate does not have enough votes to end debate on the bill. As a result, the majority has decided to bring reconciliation into the equation.

Reconciliation is a process that ends debate and allows a budget to be passed with a simple 51 vote majority. A reconciliation bill is only to be used to change spending, taxes, or the debt limit. Unlike a normal bill, debate time is limited to 20 hours, amendments must be related to the bill, and amendments must not violate the Byrd Rule.

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