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    Reconciliation is only an ‘Obscure Legislative Process’ because media won't explain it

    While Democrats are fretting about what to do about health care reform following Scott Brown's Senate victory in Massachusetts, many have brought up the idea that they should use the legislative process known as Reconciliation to pass a reform bill.

    The mainstream media, always happy to run with a meme, have decided that Reconciliation is an obscure, sneaky process:

    NY Daily News: Democratic insiders say they are weighing several options to save health care reform, and one actually may be bold enough to revive a depressed, turned-off Democratic base: use the obscure reconciliation loophole to pass a public option.

    CNN: Democratic success could depend on an obscure tactic called reconciliation, a type of budget maneuver that requires only a simple majority — 51 votes — to pass.

    And on and on. But for something so “obscure,” it gets used a lot by both parties. From Wikipedia:

    Reconciliation bills have included:

    * Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1980, Pub.L. 96-499 (1980)
    * Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, Pub.L. 97-35 (1981)
    * Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1982, Pub.L. 97-253 (1982)
    * Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA), Pub.L. 97-248 (1982)
    * Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1983, Pub.L. 98-270 (1984)
    * Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 (DEFRA), Pub.L. 98-369 (1984)
    * Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), Pub.L. 99-272 (1986)
    * Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986, Pub.L. 99-509 (1986)
    * Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, Pub.L. 100-203 (1987)
    * Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989, Pub.L. 101-239 (1989)
    * Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, Pub.L. 101-508 (1990).
    * Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, Pub.L. 103-66 (1990).
    * Balanced Budget Act of 1995, H.R. 2491 (vetoed December 6, 1995)
    * Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, Pub.L. 104-193 (1996)
    * Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Pub.L. 105-33 (1997)
    * Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, Pub.L. 105-34 (1997)
    * Taxpayer Refund and Relief Act of 1999, H.R. 2488 (vetoed September 23, 1999)
    * Marriage Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2000, H.R. 4810 (vetoed August 5, 2000)
    * Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), Pub.L. 107-16 (2001)
    * Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, Pub.L. 108-27 (2003)
    * Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Pub.L. 109-171 (2006)
    * Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 (TIPRA), Pub.L. 109-222 (2006)
    * College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Pub.L. 110-84 (2007)

    Both the Reagan and Bush tax cuts were passed using Reconciliation. According the Merriam-Webster, “Obscure” is defined thusly`:

    1: shrouded in or hidden by darkness: not clearly seen or easily distinguished : faint
    2: not readily understood or clearly expressed; also : mysterious
    3: relatively unknown

    So basically, this is the issue with Reconciliation as a legislative maneuver: The media is making sure you are aware how “obscure” it is, forgetting that it’s their job to help make it less “obscure.”


    Crossposted at William K. Wolfrum Chroncicles


    If you look at definition #2, you see what they're really getting at. Here's another way of stating definition #2: "Won't fit into a 15-second sound-bite or uses words too large for our target audience to understand."

    But on the other hand, cloture votes are completely self-evident. Bozos.

    (But great point, Wolfie.)

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