January 3, 2017

LIVE BY RECONCILIATION, DIE BY RECONCILIATION: Senate Republicans just introduced an Obamacare repeal plan Democrats can’t stop.

Senate Budget Committee Chair Michael Enzi (R-WY) introduced a budget resolution Tuesday that includes “reconciliation instructions” that enable Congress to repeal Obamacare with a simple Senate majority. Passing a budget resolution that includes those instructions will mean that the legislation can pass through the budget reconciliation process, in which bills cannot be filibustered.

That means Republicans will only need 50 of their 52 members in the Senate, and a bare majority in the House, to pass legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act. According to the Wall Street Journal, the budget resolution could be passed by both houses as early as next week.

To be clear, passing the budget resolutions does not itself repeal Obamacare. But it’s the necessary first step if Republicans are to do that this year, and unless three or more Republican senators defect (or 24 House members do), it’ll be smooth sailing for the repeal effort from there on out.

First day of business, too.

Updated with this flashback: “Reid: Dems will use 50-vote tactic to finish healthcare in 60 days.”

The move would allow Democrats to essentially go it alone on health reform, especially after losing their filibuter-proof majority in the Senate after Sen. Scott Brown’s (R) special election victory in Massachusetts.

Republicans have protested the maneuver as a hyperpartisan tactic to ram through a health bill, and have said that plans to use the reconciliation process make moot a bipartisan summit at the White House this week, where both GOP and Democratic leaders are supposed to present their ideas on healthcare.

They honestly bought into that “permanent Democratic majority” stuff.

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