From Bloomberg comes this story about how the Dems will use a parliamentary procedure to pass legislation that they know would face a filibuster by the minority:
Obama May Use Legislative Ploy to Jam Through Health, Tax Bills
By Brian Faler
March 18 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama may try to push through Congress a health-care overhaul, energy proposals and tax increases by using a partisan tactic that would thwart Republican efforts to block the measures.
The administration and congressional Democrats are debating whether to use a parliamentary procedure called reconciliation to advance some of the biggest items on the president’s agenda. The move would allow Democrats to approve plans to raise taxes by $1 trillion, create a cap-and-trade system to rein in greenhouse-gas emissions, and overhaul health care without a single Republican vote.
“You’re talking about running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them into the Chicago River,” said Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican who stepped down last month as Obama’s pick for Commerce secretary. “It takes the minority completely out of the process.”
Reconciliation reduces the number of votes needed to pass legislation in the 100-seat Senate to a simple majority rather than the 60 required to overcome resistance to major bills. The tactic also limits debate to no more than 20 hours and imposes restrictions on amendments.
Senate Democrats have a majority with 58 votes, though Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who is struggling with brain cancer, is frequently absent. Several other Democrats often vote with Republicans.
House Democrats are pushing to use reconciliation because it would help ensure they don’t end up voting for tax increases and other legislation that can be blocked by Senate Republicans.
The new era of bipartisanship, indeed.
(and since when have Democrats been concerned about voting for tax increases?) I thought the point of using the reconciliation was to pass $1 trillion in new taxes???
A comment from ARC: Brian - Wasn't this procedure referred to as the Nuclear Option back when the GOP considered it for judicial appointments that the Dems were blocking?
ARC: St Wendeler