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Reid: GOP should 'stop crying' over reconciliation

That's more like it:

"I would recommend they go back and look at history. Since 1981, reconciliation has been used 21 times," Reid told reporters after the weekly lunch with his Democratic caucus. [...]

"Realistically, they should stop crying about reconciliation as if it's never been done before," Reid advised the GOP. “It's been done in almost every Congress. And they're the ones who used it more than anyone else."

Reid then rattled off a list of Republican legislative achievements that were pushed through the Senate. "Most of the stuff in the Contract for America was done with reconciliation; tax cuts, done with reconciliation; Medicare [prescription drug benefits], done with reconciliation," said Reid.

It's a bit annoying, though, that Democrats keep justifying the reconciliation process based on the fact that Republicans have done it, too. The reconciliation process makes sense because majority votes make sense.

By Ezra Klein  |  February 23, 2010; 5:31 PM ET
 
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Comments

Rather than waste time justifying it, why don't they just do it?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 23, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

God its good to hear some of the plainly, patently obvious stuff like this finally get said...

Posted by: lazza11 | February 23, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
23 February 2010

Many Republicans who are fixated on their overarching goal to make President Obama and his Democratic administration fail-- by thwarting, frustrating, opposing, blocking, demonizing, demagoguing and sabotaging any and all of their major initiatives for America--must have thought all along that they could succeed in this by resorting to the procedural device of "filibustering" available to them in the U.S. Senate.

To the consternation of Republicans, the Democrats are now saying that they can foil the Republicans' insidious plans by resorting to another procedural device called "reconciliation" which requires only a simple majority of 1 for a bill to pass the Senate.

It does appear that the Democrats have an effective weapon to checkmate Republican designs after all.

It is the American people who stand to benefit if the Congress succeeds in getting major Democratic bills passed.

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | February 23, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

WRT pointing out that majority votes are good business - that is very very important going forward...

BUT I think that first democrats need to spend some time counteracting the image that republicans have perpetrated (with no resistance from the press) that reconciliation is some nuclear option, some form of legislative trickery - something that is far outside of normal operating procedure and something that the republicans would never use themselves... Harry Reid's words are a great start!

Once it is clearer to the public that it is normal operating procedure for BOTH parties to use reconciliation (and once the health bill has passed) then attention should be turned to why reconciliation is now so necessary and hopefully to addressing the huge problems of passing laws through the senate.

Posted by: lazza11 | February 23, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Majority votes make sense only in truly representative bodies: neither the US House nor the US Senate are such truly representative bodies, with the Senate deliberately non-representative and the House non-representative as a result of both gerrymandering and population density factors.

This is not to say that reconciliation is a bad process, just that it can be a dangerous limit on debate. Thankfully, the process itself includes numerous hurdles preliminary to the final majority vote: if reconciliation were a simply up-or-down vote, it would be disastrous.

Posted by: rmgregory | February 23, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Well, you know how reporters are. They have to have their memories refreshed. They think it's only OK if Repubs. do it.

Posted by: carolerae48 | February 23, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

The Dems aren't justifying doing it because Republicans do it, they are telling Republicans that they know the rules every bit as well as the Republicans. They do what they do because the republicans haven't learned to act like adults. They simply request that the Republicans stop complaining about a process that the Republicans use all the time.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 23, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad someone is finally pushing back against this anti-reconciliation rhetoric. It is still very frustration though. Using reconciliation is entirely legitimate. It's been legitimate since 1974. But somehow Republicans have managed to call into question its legitimacy, and the press has completely bought into it. Now it will be a point of contention, something that will be reported on and discussed until November. Was it right for Democrats to use reconciliation? Or were they doing an end run around the will of the American people? And the media scribes will dutifully report both sides of the argument over reconciliation, and leave it up to the wisdom of the American people to decide who is right on this point. They will do this even though anyone who knows anything about Congress would be confused about why this is even an issue. At least, they'd be confused if you'd asked them before this particular Congress began.

Posted by: dollarwatcher | February 23, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

The oligarchy of Obama, Reid and Pelosi, the hubris three, will kill Democrats chances for reelection in the fall.

Posted by: mharwick | February 23, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

The democrats need to expose the Repubs flim flam act at every opportunity. Many Americans are ignorant of how Congress works and only hear what the Repubs are BSing about. It also doesn't help that the main stream media is controlled by big corporations and guess who they support.

Posted by: Falmouth1 | February 24, 2010 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Many conservatives hope that Reid uses reconciliation, because it will accelerate voter rejection of the Democrat party in 2010. Obama, Reid and Peolsi have done more to energize Republicans and independents to oppose their corruption, taxpayer-funded bribes, and under the table dealing than any Republican ever did. Remember this well, Democrats - your focus on ramming these special interest laden bills down American throats is about to be repaid, with interest.

Counter-revolution in 2010...

Posted by: hill_marty | February 24, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

complaining is the only way to let the people know whats going on...
reid would perfer that the people not know...
dems love an ignorant electorate...

Posted by: DwightCollins | February 24, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

If Sen. Reid had not used the word 'crying' the Post wouldn't have reported this story. The media spends more time reporting on the 10-12% of people who self identify as tea party members while ignoring the 80%+ demographic of Americans who do not belong to that group. No wonder people don't understand how and why the Congress can't get anything done.

Posted by: 12345leavemealone | February 24, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

So, again, what's wrong with majority rule?

Posted by: dc1020008 | February 24, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Harry Reid should remember all of the obstructionist actions that the Democrats took while Republicans were the majority party and quit whining. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. As for the Republicans, saying no isn't a bad thing when they are saying no to very bad legislation and policy. But they also need to articulate that they have viable alternatives. Explain clearly how tort reform will save far more money in health care than what liberals (supported by the trial lawyers) will admit to. Show clearly how interstate competition for health insurance will cut costs as well as the other measures that will save money without cutting health benefits. Conservatives have some great ideas. Of course, the media and the liberals don't want you, the American public, to listen to them.

Posted by: honorswar26 | February 24, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

The GOP never lets the facts get in the way. Pathetic.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 24, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Let's not forget that in 2005 the Republicans in the Senate (led by Dr. Frist) seriously considered changing the Senate rules and eliminating the filibuster (then used by Dems to block Bush's judicial nominees). Trent Lott called it the "nuclear option". SEN Allen of VA defended his support of the nuclear option with lofty prose about "majority rule" and "will of the people", as well as a few sports analogies. Wonder what he would say about that rule change now?

Posted by: NavyDave | February 24, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Can you imagine all the crap laws that would be on the books , if all laws were passed using a simple majority?

A proposed law should be strong enough to get backing from a large majority.

If your party thinks that a proposel is important enough to use reconcileation then by all means use it, but remember that you are taking full responsibility for the out come.

Posted by: rlkidd58 | February 24, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"The reconciliation process makes sense because majority votes make sense."

They makes sense in a democracy. But not necessarily so in a Constitutional Republic, which accurately describes the government of the U.S.

Posted by: MDLaxer | February 24, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

dc1020008,

You said: "So, again, what's wrong with majority rule?"

Think about that when minorities complain when the majority votes against their issues such as gay rights to marriage.

If a simple majority has the right to "rule", then you should be perfectly willing to sit back and shut up when the party you do not approve of becomes the majority and "rules".

On Reid's comments, where was his opinion on crying when in 2005 he supported the view that reconciliation was "arrogant and against the founder's intent" as stated by the Democrat minority at that time.

Posted by: dwgerard | February 24, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

In fact the VAST majority of Americans, even the minority to actually vote regularly, don't understand how Congress works. So maybe it needs to be explained in ways that they can understand. They generally know about sports and games. Thye know that in most sports , you DO NOT have to win by 20 points (60-40) to be the victor --51-49 does it. If your team gets 51 points(votes) and the other team gets only 49, YOU win. The big words like "reconcilliation" that have been demonized by the Republicans have scared , confused and misled the general public.
(See "government take over"; "socialism" ;"death panels", etc)
If you have more votes than the other team, you win. Simple enough for most folks to understand.

Posted by: jmsbh | February 24, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

One should remember that everything can't be done through reconciliation. First, the topic MUST be included in the mandatory Budget Reconciliation bill that allocates dollars to general budget items. The Reconciliation Bill cannot be filibustered and requires only a simple majority. Dems were smart enough to get Health Care into the Bill but failed to get Cap & Trade into it. So, they can do health care by 50+1 but cannot do Cap & Trade that way.

Posted by: jdrd58 | February 24, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

To use the words of a southern redneck, Git R done. Pass a bill with a public option, with or wothout Republicant support. It will be good for the uninsured. Good for the insured to help control costs. Good for the economy to help with spiraling costs. And good for the American people.

Posted by: COLEBRACKETT | February 24, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"They makes sense in a democracy. But not necessarily so in a Constitutional Republic, which accurately describes the government of the U.S."

Posts like these are beyond silly. A "Democracy" encompasses forms of government like "Constitutional Republic." None of the Western Democracies (of which the US is one) is a pure democracy. The whole argument is a non-starter.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | February 24, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"Can you imagine all the crap laws that would be on the books , if all laws were passed using a simple majority?

A proposed law should be strong enough to get backing from a large majority."

Crap laws like the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts?

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | February 24, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

One place where the frustrated D's (myself included), "independents" (whoever they are) and a good chunk of the less-crazy tea-baggers actually have a point of agreement is this:

The Senate D's don't ever seem to play the game with any conviction. They always play like they're afraid to lose the next election or offend the delicate sensitivities of Sen. McConnell, rather than going for the kill and just getting it done, like the R's do. The R's don't give a crap what the D's think when they have a +1 majority.

We need to play by the same rules, at least when the stakes are high. Maybe this is a ray of hope that the D's are finally going through puberty.

Posted by: gio_momma | February 24, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Klein: "It's a bit annoying, though, that Democrats keep justifying the reconciliation process based on the fact that Republicans have done it, too. The reconciliation process makes sense because majority votes make sense."

If reporters were sensitive to "majority vote", i.e. Democracy, you would be attacking Republicans daily! Instead you become tools to their anti-democratic nay-saying with the end of killing ALL responsible government. The Post is very sick-making. And this record will haunt the newspaper like Judith Miller and NTT's reporting on the lead-up to the Iraqi war.

Why is it that the Post says only Democrats are at risk in November? Even in aligator land down south, House and Senate candidates will pay for not supporting health care reform. But who am I compared to all you Washington chirping lemmings. (Don't think lemmings chirp, but never mind.)

Posted by: walden1 | February 24, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

..."As a registered Voter/Vet USAF, I agree with United States Majority Leader Harry Reid! Republicans are the ones who lost 8 and a half million jobs, Republicans doing all they can to stop the United States Government from helping put some back!

Be sure now YOU run and vote Republican again, after all their record/facts show America that they have ruined you but GOOOD! Left you a record/debt/bill $1.5 TRILLION DOLLARS, and my favorite fact, left office with the Lowest Job Approval Rating in the History of the United States Presidency, 20%!

Be sure now you RUN and vote Republican again, "APPRECIATE IT!

..."Wow, Republicans still standing in the way of change, and laughing all the to the bank...."APPRECIATE IT!

Wow...America have the Republicans RUINED YOU BUT GOOOOOOOOOOOOD!

Posted by: ztcb41 | February 24, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I would bet any amount of money that if this situation was reversed (republican legislative and executive branch) Ezra would be screaming to high heavens that the filibuster protects the minority and how its an important part of the legislative process. He is just another partisan shill.

Posted by: Natstural | February 24, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Face it, the republicans are bunch of Luddites who are too stupid to understand anything like the health care bill that has multiple parts.

So they just vote "no".

"stupid is as stupid does".

Posted by: Heerman532 | February 24, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

How about we cut a deal. The Republicans will stop crying and obstructing, and the Democrats stop writing crappy legislation. Everyone wins!

Posted by: charlesbakerharris | February 24, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse


What goes around comes around.

Come November, when Reid loses his seat, the GOP can tell old Harry the same thing.

Posted by: chicago77 | February 24, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

The oligarchy of Obama, Reid and Pelosi, the hubris three, will kill Democrats chances for reelection in the fall.

Posted by: mharwick | February 23, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Do you have a toilet paper tube stuck in your rear end? Sounds to me like you are a jealous and covetous republican.

Posted by: smtpgirl08 | February 24, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

The oligarchy of Obama, Reid and Pelosi, the hubris three, will kill Democrats chances for reelection in the fall.

Posted by: mharwick | February 23, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Do you have a toilet paper tube stuck in your rear end? Sounds to me like you are a jealous and covetous republican.

Posted by: smtpgirl08 | February 24, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

The oligarchy of Obama, Reid and Pelosi, the hubris three, will kill Democrats chances for reelection in the fall.

Posted by: mharwick | February 23, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse
======================================

Do you have a toilet paper tube stuck in your rear end? Sounds to me like you are a jealous and covetous republican.

Posted by: smtpgirl08 | February 24, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

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