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Reconciliation is in trouble

Last week, I reported that Senate Republicans intend to use something called the “Byrd Rule” to block any health care compromise Pelosi tries to reach with House Democrats using “reconciliation.” Under the rule, the minority in the Senate can raise points of order to strip extraneous (non budgetary) provisions from the bill, and it requires 60 votes to override such a point of order. Last night, 41 Republicans signed a letter to Harry Reid pledging to sustain all points of order. This means that the fixes Pelosi may include in a reconciliation bill to win over conservative “blue dog” Democrats are in danger. The reconciliation strategy is in trouble.

By Marc Thiessen  | March 11, 2010; 2:34 PM ET
Categories:  Thiessen  | Tags:  Marc Thiessen  
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Comments

Do you even understand how reconciliation works? The Dems already know that they can only include what they can get past the parliamentarian, aka things that are directly budget-related.

Posted by: Interceptor402 | March 11, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen:

Your post is completely worthless. The Democrats are well aware of what can and cannot be included in the "fix" bill, which is planned for reconciliation.

You would have been better off telling us the time on your watch. At least you would have had a 2 in 1440 change of getting this right!

Posted by: knedd | March 11, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

This is yellow journalism. "Reconciliation is in trouble!" "Reconciliation is in trouble!"

I turn to the blog and there is no information whatsoever. As the previous poster said, the Democrats were never going to be able to deal with abortion, or other non-budget items in reconciliation.

I suggest you run your items past Ezra Klein or some other serious person before posting.

Posted by: HuckFinn | March 11, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Mr. Thiessen; I cannot take you seriously since your appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart!

Posted by: agmanon | March 11, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Reconciliation is in trouble! Perhaps that is why Thiessen is smiling in his photograph. Another failed neo-con operative exploiting the pages of the poor old Washington Post for his own party's benefit.

Posted by: gposner | March 11, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

It's a pretty sad commentary when a reader can scan the headline of an article and cross-reference it with the writer to gleen its essence without bothering to read.

The cousin to that scenario is when a writer proceeds with an article without thinking - or using an inverse logic to arrive at his predetermined conclusions.

Congrats. You succeeded on both counts.

Posted by: rbrent516 | March 11, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I love the irony of this 60 year exodus in the desert, we americans too busy trying to get public healthcare to even have time to fatten our children for the slaughter of Obama's Withdrawl stategy.

Posted by: simonsays1 | March 11, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Want to find out what this guy is about? Read his wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Thiessen

Posted by: sr31 | March 11, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen is still cleaning up from the orgasm he is having over his glee at the Democrats troubles. What a tool.

Posted by: lloydamy | March 11, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Do they not even give you some kind of remedial legislative process class when you get a gig like this for the Washington Post?

This level of cluelessness is embarrassing. Reconciliation is not in trouble. A workaround that would have avoided having to do it via reconciliation just got stopped, as expected. That's why they are doing reconciliation instead.

I know, Mr. Thiessen, it's making your head hurt to try to grasp this, but give it a little try. It's not really that hard, and then you won't look so dumb in front of everyone reading the site.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | March 11, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

At long last Washington Post, have you no decency to continue publishing this torture supporter?

Posted by: caphilldcne | March 11, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

One of the things you don't talk about is the fact that the Vice-President, as the President of the Senate can over rule the Parlimentarian! The Parlimentarian's input is only a reccommendation or opinion that can be over ruled.

Posted by: kitchden | March 11, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Your appearance on Jon Stewart lacked all grace, Mr. Thiessen. You came across as a high school kid enamored of your own voice and wouldn't even consider the serious and honest questions and points brought up by Stewart. He was trying to ask you why you name-call those who disagree with you essentially unpatriotic. In other words, Stewart pointed out that if someone has the audacity to disagree with you, you take it as your duty to declare them enemies of the USA. That's patently absurd, and we all could see it. You acted like a crybaby. (Sort of like Justice Roberts. Is there no grace or confidence among GOP apologists?)

Posted by: cturtle1 | March 11, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Dude, you do not know what you are talking about. You might wnat to consult Sen. Byrd before you going off half cocked abou the "Byrd Rule." The Parlimentarian can rule a bill out of order, but the President of the Senate--i.e. Joe Biden, gets the last word on that question. And just how do you think he is going to rule? The repubes should just give it up and go home if they are not going to participate in the legislative process.

Posted by: PepperDr | March 11, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

this article is goofy. if you click the first link, to the Byrd rule discussion by this very author, it makes clear that it's only if and when the parliamentarian rules a provision extraneous that 60 votes would be required to overrule that. So Republicans could get some provisions of a reconciliation bill stripped by blocking an overrule vote if the parliamentarian rules that they should be stripped. that's not quite what this article says. the original link is to using reconciliation on the abortion subject, which would clearly flunk, but there isn't going to be any need to do that because we are now talking about passing the Senate Bill as is, first. If Stupak comes around to vote for the Senate bill, abortion won't be in any reconciliation, or need to be.

Posted by: JoeT1 | March 11, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

These reader comments are further proof that this debate has become entirely too divisive and destructive.
It's time for a plan that is more reasonable, affordable, and able to garner significant support.
The current plan fails on all three fronts.

Posted by: mtpeaks | March 11, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen went to a Prep School that had a Golf Course. When he appeared on the MSNBC show the right wing GOP former Congressman Joe Scarbouroughhad to rescue him because Thiessen cannot stand up to John Stewart or O'Donell or anyone but a Fred Hiatt and the other right wing functionaries like GOP Congressman Scarbourough, who allow Thiessen to spread his poison anti-democracy vision of a Castro-Like Police State that he devellopped when Thiessen serviced the Cheney Cartel.

Thiessen advocates torture. Nothing worse than a rich guy wimp who wants other people to do his torturing for him.

Only Fred Hiatt's post welcomes the enemies of decent societies and governments like ricj boy Thiessen.

We need to laugh him off the stage by exposing his lies and love of torture.

Torture has no place in America!!!!

Posted by: thomasjoyce | March 11, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Look at his smug self-satisfied mug. It is the look of the Fascist torturer.

Why do people who believe in The Rule of Law honor a spoiled little rich kid like Thiessen? Since Thiessen and the Cheney Cartel favor torture, the suborn the breaking of the laws of decency and they destroy the US Constitution.

Boycott the Post and its right wing war lovers and torture-loving writers.

Posted by: thomasjoyce | March 11, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

mtspeaks: Republicans have decided to oppose anything, no matter how reasonable or affordable. They have nothing to say but tort reform, which is nice but useless, and won't support anything else at all.

Posted by: JoeT1 | March 11, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen is in trouble.

Posted by: hoser3 | March 11, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

thomasjoyce

Yes, thank you, you got it exactly! "Smug self-satisfied mug." I've been scratching my head trying to figure out how to describe that Thiessen's truly awful visage, that obnoxious, malevolent grin that looks just like some pampered, prep school punk whose just pulled a cruel prank on one of his less fortunate school mates and is now yucking it up while his victim vents his rage. You can just see it in his face, and you captured it perfectly. One of the truly vile creatures on the public stage today.

Posted by: TedFrier | March 11, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen and Breitbart- the loonies that wrote the tune.

Posted by: hoser3 | March 11, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

My doctor recommended that I don't slam Thiessen too hard. He said that the difficulty in breathing experienced during an improvised upside down shower isn't good for humans.

Posted by: hoser3 | March 11, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Since Marcy-marc was a Helm's boot licker I see no reason to accept anything he says as being valid.

Posted by: hoser3 | March 11, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse


"IF" the president would listen to the American people --- who he was elected to lead --- this discussion would be moot.

Universal Healthcare should be "dead" for a vast number of reasons. Here are several.

The bill does not improve "healthcare", it merely makes it available to the unemployed at the expense of the employed ( a.k.a. "taxpayer"). It is really a "wealth redistribution".

The bill has earmarks and political payoffs for those who put the Kenyan in office. It economically slams middle class America.

Obama promised transparency with "healthcare", and instead delivered secret deals & "buyoffs" for votes that wouldn't be there except for the corruption that emanates from the WHITE HOUSE.

There are other reasons, but with a little luck, the Senate Bill will be defeated, and those reasons will not need to be mentioned.

Isn't it ironic? the Kenyan calls for an "up or down vote", but since the donkeys don't have enough votes, it will be postponed until HE can bribe some more Congressmen/women.

Obama and Shumer blame "the party of "NO"".

I Pray that there are enough members of the Houose with integrity to vote the way their constituents demand.

Then we can send out the message

"HEALTHCARE IS DEAD -- FINALLY".


Posted by: esquire2 | March 11, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse


"IF" the president would listen to the American people --- who he was elected to lead --- this discussion would be moot.

Universal Healthcare should be "dead" for a vast number of reasons. Here are several.

The bill does not improve "healthcare", it merely makes it available to the unemployed at the expense of the employed ( a.k.a. "taxpayer"). It is really a "wealth redistribution".

The bill has earmarks and political payoffs for those who put the Kenyan in office. It economically slams middle class America.

Obama promised transparency with "healthcare", and instead delivered secret deals & "buyoffs" for votes that wouldn't be there except for the corruption that emanates from the WHITE HOUSE.

There are other reasons, but with a little luck, the Senate Bill will be defeated, and those reasons will not need to be mentioned.

Isn't it ironic? the Kenyan calls for an "up or down vote", but since the donkeys don't have enough votes, it will be postponed until HE can bribe some more Congressmen/women.

Obama and Shumer blame "the party of "NO"".

I Pray that there are enough members of the Houose with integrity to vote the way their constituents demand.

Then we can send out the message

"HEALTHCARE IS DEAD -- FINALLY".


Posted by: esquire2 | March 11, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Interesting how all of the Dem comments amount to character attacks, and little about the articles substance: they are no longer a super-majority, and are procedurely incapacited by that fact as far as ramming through health care reform.

Ponit of order Mr. Klein !!!!

Posted by: red4ever2 | March 11, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me folks, this is not so black and white. A budget item is something that needs funding or not. Why can't something like abortion fall into that category? If there is a $0 by that item this will follow the Stupak line. Fixes to the excise tax seems a little more straight forward, but you can make a point just because you feel like it. Believe me, the Republicans will want to frustrate this process with whatever they can use. I worked for Senator, I know.

Posted by: kswsting | March 11, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I rarely read posts or blogs but this one has some of the most acidic and vitriolic comments I have read in a long time. Most of them my 3rd grade teacher would have tossed out as being totaly irrelevant to the subject or mostly just personal attacks on the author, but so be it...it seems to be the norm these days. I agree we need health care reform. Badly. I pay the premiums for myself and my employees and I know exactly TO THE PENNY how much it costs, how much the premiums increase and benefits decrease each year, and how much this costs both myself and my employees in terms of spendable wages that I can't afford to pay if I am to continue to offer insurance and, most importantly, stay in business. I lean to the left pretty far on a lot of social issues but I do not believe that the current health care bill will ever, under any true no-fudging real number accounting that I can imagine, reduce what I or my employees pay, improve the benefits we receive for those dollars, or do much of anything to improve health care for the willingly or unwillingly [the ones who most need help] uninsured. I agree with Mr. Theissen that the bill is in trouble and it should be. Too many late hour votes, arm twisting, and deal making have been involved in crafting it which make it a set of wishes and compromises that do very little to take on the fundamental economic forces that keep driving health care costs up at astronomical rates. I think it's a lot of feel good legislation that misses the target. We can do better than this and both sides of this gutter alley brawl share equal blame for the current mess that consumes a huge sum of our GNP every single day. I'm actually ashamed of how many of our elected officials are acting and look forward to voting in a lot of new ones who'll put political ambitions aside and put our nations needs ahead of their idealistic dreams.

Posted by: winterman1 | March 11, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Theissen is turning out to be one of the most ill-informed people in Washington. No wonder he's Fred Hiatt's newest neocon mouthpiece. What a discredited mess Hiatt has made of the Post during his tenure.

Posted by: B2O2 | March 11, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Theissen is such a partisan hack that it's amazing he gets to write a column for a paper of record.

Posted by: paul41 | March 11, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Washington Post is in trouble if they need to lower the quality of their writer-thinkers like this? Probably time to give them a heave-ho for some time and move on. I guess they are trying the 'Politico' strategy of devoting half page to utter Rightist Drivel so that they can create more readership. Good luck with that approach, WaPo.

Posted by: rocky | March 11, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Hey Thiessen! Do you think that it might be time to 'step up your game'?....It's clear that you don't understand how Reconciliation works....C'mon man. You're not posting for "The Corner" today. Make a cohesive argument to convince someone "outside the choir" that you have a clue.

Posted by: TruthHurts2 | March 12, 2010 1:42 AM | Report abuse

Thiessen is a complete tool--lousy writer, torture apologist, Bush toady. And I don't think he has a friggin' clue about reconciliation. I was suckered by the headline, but it's apparent that the Dems don't have anything to worry about. Amazing that the WaPo pays this clown good money for his uninformed drivel.

Posted by: steveandshelley | March 12, 2010 2:49 AM | Report abuse

If healthcare passes, you posters who belittle the writer may have a BIG surprise in store. The bill will tax you for several years before doing anything for you. Then you will have to wait in a long line as 30 million more people are served by the same doctors and nurses we have. Not enough for the added people. This healthcare is not going to GIVE you anything. It will probably be ruled un constitutional after taking alot in taxes. Your messiah is lying as always.

Posted by: annnort | March 12, 2010 3:18 AM | Report abuse

Thiessen...the "waterboard wunderkindt" speaks again.

Why do we have to read this worthless stuff
from a Bush retread????

Posted by: iheardthisbefore | March 12, 2010 6:15 AM | Report abuse

You were on the Daily Show nominally to talk about your smear campaign on the DoJ lawyers who had had "illegal combatant" clients. You wound up in a debate about torture. That's what happens to torture apologists, Marc. Whatever else you try to talk about from now on, you'll have to talk about torture. Denying the obvious is full time work. The truth operates on a 24x7 basis.

You certainly can argue like a weasel, but it was clear by the end that the only thing propping you up was that you simply didn't understand Jon's argument. I will say I've seldom seen Jon look so tired on camera as he did at the end of the extended discussion posted at the web site. Give yourself that at least, Marc. You're thoroughly tiresome.

Posted by: fzdybel | March 12, 2010 6:23 AM | Report abuse

This liar worked for Jesse Helms before working for W.

Nuff said.

Posted by: kreator6996 | March 12, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Rupert Murdoch is looking for an idiot to enrich Faux News & Wall Street Journal. Please go & join the Karl Rove, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck et al, neocon attack dog group. Spare us.

Posted by: sarvenk63 | March 12, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Thiessen - what a tool! Always trying to write history according to his own warped point of view. I saw him on The Daily Show and he was a complete a-hole, constantly interrupting Stewart then complaining that he wasn't gettting a chance to make the point about his book which tries to accuse Obama of being "soft" on terrorism, while defending the illegal activities of the Bush admin. Now he's trying to proclaim defeat on health care reform, giddy with excitement that the Obstructionist party may have another trick up their sleeves.

Posted by: mbstrong1 | March 12, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Your over-privileged, white bread, GI Joe mentality has no place in a conversation with intelligent adults. Every word out of your lying mouth is nothing but self-serving drivel. Your corrupt book and newspaper column exist only to generate enough dissonance to keep your collusive, fat white blimpo-butt and your cronies out of prison.

You have done your best to promote the noble American values of torture, incompetence and blaming everyone but your self. You castrate the Constitution with an angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin piece of sophistry that says the "war on terror" prosecutes neither a war nor a crime but magically turns our enemies into non-humans who can be arrested, tortured, maimed and killed. The self-righteous claim that "it kept us safe" is not only spurious (terrorism grows and a large portion of the world will hate us for decades if not centuries), disingenuous (prove something didn't happen) and a fantasy (safety denotes rest, which we can never do again), that claim is the only thing keeping your bosses out of jail.

But now you've chosen to add your miserable opinion to a tiny, arcane point of order in the health care debate. How dare you? You have some acquaintance with torture and subverting the law of the land, but you have no right to talk about health care reform, its value or its passage. Your President and your party have not made an honest effort to fix it or even seriously address it while allowing it to become much, much worse. Your contribution in any way to this debate shows you have no honor or propriety and no shame in your complicity in keeping millions of Americans health care free.

Taken as a whole, your only contribution to the national dialog can best be described as hair-splitting. While it appears you have a brain, it is only used in the pursuit of finding excuses and alibis. You call to mind the guilty bully, caught in his crimes who can do nothing but desperately search for a way out of punishment by using every transparent lie and half-truth he can. Now, on order to distract from your own guilt, you're trying to horn in on a fight with the big kids, one in which you have no place. Except this isn't a playground. Real people are watching their children get sick, real people are dying in your war, and real people are losing their homes.

Rot in Hell.

Posted by: joebanks | March 12, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Esquire 2 wrote:
The bill does not improve "healthcare", it merely makes it available to the unemployed at the expense of the employed ( a.k.a. "taxpayer"). It is really a "wealth redistribution".

_____________________

I'd rather my tax dollars go to pay for health care for all rather then tax cuts to corporations and the upper 2%.
Why is it considered so horrible by you conservatives to help out the average guy getting rammed by the insurance companies, seeing more and more jobs going overseas, having to watch his wages plunge while the upper 2% are getting even more rich off his taxes.
Why is it you resent your neighbor for being laid off because Wall Street could not contain their greed and wiped out main street?
Yet you have no problems with your tax dollars going to welfare to those corporations who take our jobs overseas and to the very wealthy lay abouts who are sucking our tax dollars and growing our deficit by trillions with their welfare...er, government subsidies....oh, wait, it's now called 'tax cuts'.

Posted by: vwcat | March 12, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

For the person who commented on what the Obama plan will do -- I only read one of your points -- "the bill is for the unemployed who will get insurance paid by the taxpayer" Go back and research your materials because you are dead wrong. That's one of the major problems The President has encountered in pushing the bill -- Its people like you who present falsehoods to the public. Its a shame. Quite frankly, I think you know the truth BUT PREFER TO TELL A LIE, SIMILAR TO THOSE IN CONGRESS -- LIKE SENATOR GRASSLEY IN IOWA THIS SUMMER PROMOTING DEATH PANELS, using Grandma as the example.

Posted by: phyllisr5 | March 12, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

A toatlly Screwed up GM bail out...Billions of wasteed Pork in the stymulus bill signed at midnight just to meet a deadline with no Validity.. and now they again are wanting adeadline without a BILL that can be Scored in full ??? Can we actually aford to have these CRETINS in charge for additional time?? May be an Impeachment movement can be Mounted to Sweep that Congressional and WH Barn that seem to be populated by PIGS????

Posted by: redhawk2 | March 12, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Buried in his massive amendment to the Senate version of Obamacare is Reid's anti-democratic poison pill designed to prevent any future Congress from repealing the central feature of this monstrous legislation!
Beginning on page 1,000 of the measure, Section 3403 reads in part: "it shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection."

In other words, if President Barack Obama signs this measure into law, no future Senate or House will be able to change a single word of Section 3403, regardless whether future Americans or their representatives in Congress wish otherwise!!

This is not about Health Care for you - its a huge power grab !!

Posted by: JUNGLEJIM123 | March 12, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Time to bury this HC Bill. It does nothing as intended..but cover those without at the expense of those with? Should we apply that same logic to all facets of life.
It will not lower premiums - but increase them, it will higher taxes, it will not lower healthcares costs for insurance companies only make up 3-5% of the actual costs. Its hospitals, doctors, equipment, etc, etc. Nobama plans a decrease in Dr payments inside his 'budget'..but that is a gimmick to keep it under 1 trillion..but that will never happen - for congress has failed repeatedly to apply that same standard under Medicare. Here's a thought - fix the other two first - before proposing a 3rd failing entitlement that the USA can afford.

Posted by: short1 | March 12, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Guys like Thiessen have been around for ages - he's like Newt Gingrich or Dick Cheney or Joe McCarthy - they are absolutely sure they know what's good for all of us - and have no clue why decent "tune them out" .

Posted by: arbcnslrs | March 14, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

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