The best arguments against the so called nuclear option, widely considered as a measure that might be useful in passing the health care initiatives of President Barack Obama, Chris Dodd, Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid and the better angels of Hillary Clinton’s nature were made in 05 by the politicos mentioned above.
What Nuclear Option to pass healthcare is the GOP harping on about?
"The Nuclear Option" was when the Republicans wanted to get rid of the filibuster rule so they could push through far right wing extremist judicial appointments. Though, I suspect they would have tried to go nuclear on every issue they could have gotten away with once they had abused it for Bush nominees. And as hard as it would be to believe that there were more extremist judges than the five GOP SCOTUS activist judges that handed election funding over to foreign owned corporations and their lobbyists recently, and as much as Bush's Alito and Roberts appointments deserved to be Borked back to the typically extremist Federalist Society rocks they crawled out from under, none of that had anything to do with budgetary issues as Healthcare Reform does.
Reconciliation is an often used part of the Senate rules on passing legislation dealing with budgetary issues.
More often used by the GOP than the Democratic party, as well. Though it is used to get around filibusters it has nothing to do with going nuclear on political appointees. Healthcare reform is a budgetary issue and so is reconciliation. Get over it. The GOP abused reconciliation to kick the poor and middle class just as the GOP have always abused the filibuster to kick Americans when they are in the minority. Just look at what Bunning is doing to the unemployed and Medicare right now with his current filibuster.
Healthcare Reform has absolutely nothing to do with "The Nuclear Option" and those of you falsely using "The Nuclear Option" talking point know it. Trying to muddy the waters of the debate with nonsensical GOP talking point crap will not work. And...
You cannot rewrite history and expect to get away with it around here.
The only problem Republicans have with reconciliation is the fact that this time the Democratic party will be using it and they will be using it for something that is good policy for all of the people if they do it right. And as John McCain pointed out a while back, it is the fault of the GOP for having used it so often and so egregiously (Twice the GOP used it for Tax Cuts for the uber rich. The GOP also used it for cuts to Welfare, Medicaid and Medicare) that set the precedence to use it more often now.
MCCAIN: "I fully recognize that Republicans have in the past engaged in using reconciliation to further the party’s agenda. I wish it had not been done then, and I hope it will not be done now that the groundwork has been laid."Since that comment last year, even McCain is talking the false GOP talking point in his nuclear addled brain, too. Now that reconciliation, a simple up or down vote in the budget process, is actually going to be used to pass a mish-mash of conservative GOP and Democratic ideas under Obama's watch?
Suddenly it is the nuclear end of the world to every right wing propagandist out there:
[McCain] then admitted that reconciliation has been used in the past, but “never before” for something as costly has health care and that using it now would all but ruin the U.S. Senate as an institution and “harm the future of our country”:
MCCAIN: The last time when there was a proposal that we Republicans in the majority would adopt a 51 vote majority on the issue of the confirmation of judges. There was a group of us that got together and said no that’s not the right way to go because that could deal a fatal blow to the unique aspect of the United States Senate which is a 60 vote majority. And we came to an agreement and it was brought to a halt.
If a 51 vote reconciliation is enacted on one-sixth of our gross national product. Never before has there been –- there’s been reconciliation but not at the level of an issue of this magnitude and I think I could harm the future of our country and our institution which I loved a great deal for a long, long time.
(Watch the video)
First, the “nuclear option” McCain referred to is not synonymous with “reconciliation” in general. It is the latest dishonest GOP talking point simply meant to derail health care reform.Little wonder why Grampa Abe McCain needs to be reminded of what he said last year when he has to be reminded every day that he lost the last election to Obama.
Rachel Maddow takes on the whole crew of nutjobs screeching about "Nuclear" like a bomb went off in their brains:
Maddow: What's going on here is a deliberate attempt on the part of Republicans to define nuclear down -- to conflate these two totally separate things to demonize the way that Democrats have to pass health reform right now. By calling it the nuclear option even though the nuclear option is a real thing in the Senate, and this isn't that -- it has nothing to do with that. Perhaps the reason that Republicans are so unwilling to call this what it is, reconciliation is because they have a really long record of using reconciliation.
For those of you more interested in spreading propaganda and false GOP talking points than actually debating policy and issue based on facts, reality and their merits? I suggest you not try to pass that stuff off in the blogosphere.
All it will get you is a swift kick back from pragmatists on the reality side.
Below the fold and via FDL, an excerpt of some of the long list of Republicans' more recent usages of reconciliation that could just as easily be titled "The GOP plan to kick and beat the old, the young, the sick and the poor through Reconciliation" and note that healthcare legislation is, more often than not as Rachel Maddow pointed out, passed through reconciliation:
Reconciliation have been used 22 times, 19 times it has not received a presidential veto (reconciliation fun fact, President Clinton is the only president to have vetoed a reconciliation bill). Of those 19 times, can you guess which party was in control of the United States Senate for 14 of them? I will give you three guesses but you will only need one. That is right, the Republican Party.
The Brookings Institution was kind enough to put together a list of the bills that were passed using reconciliation, you can find it here. Here is a look at the top ten Republican usages:
1981 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act: This act made major spending cuts into social programs including welfare and food stamps.
1982 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act: This act reauthorized the welfare and food stamps cuts as well as making changes to the federal pay grades.
1985 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act: This act actually did something good, it created the COBRA program. While COBRA is a often not affordable it is a good idea. And look at that, the Republicans where the ones that used reconciliation to create it.
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act: This is the act that ended welfare. Enough said.
Balanced Budget Act of 1997: This act was the first step of the Clinton Administration to balance the budget. It also included the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997: Clinton era tax cuts that were passed by the Republicans in the Senate using reconciliation.
Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001: President Bush’s first round of tax cuts for the wealthy.
Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003: President Bush’s second round of tax cuts for the wealthy.
Deficit Reduction Act of 2005: Made cuts to Medicaid and Medicare spending, as well as student loan programs.
Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005: Extended Bush Administration tax cuts including cuts on capital gains. It also included a temporary alternative minimum tax fix.
As you can see Republicans have not been shy about using this method of passing bills that could not beat a 60 vote threshold. They are not even consistent in their objections about creating health care programs as both COBRA and CHIP (not to be confused with SCHIP, which is a state program and created by Democrats) were created under their use of reconciliation.
This is a rule the Senate put in place and is allowed to use or abuse it just like the filibuster.