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GOP should and must kill Reconciliation with Byrd Rule

March 6, 2010

GOP Strategy: Bleed Reconciliation Fix To Death With Byrd Rule

Posted: Sat, 06 Mar 2010 11:18:10 -0500

Senior Senate GOP leadership aides have settled on a new strategy that, they hope, will stall or kill the Dem health reform push: They are going to use the “Byrd rule” to try to bleed the reconciliation fix to death and ensure that it never passes.

Senior GOP aides have been studying the rule book in recent days, and they think they have a game plan. Here’s how they hope it will work.

At risk of oversimplification, the Byrd rule is designed to ensure that reconciliation is used to only make budgetary fixes, not policy ones, to existing legislation. Presuming the House passes the Senate bill, the House will then pass a reconciliation fix to the bill, after which the Senate will then try to pass that fix, too.

At this point Senate GOPers will repeatedly invoke the Byrd rule to ask the parliamentarian to strip individual provisions (ones fixing this or that in the original bill) out of the fix, on the grounds that they are policy fixes. If individual provisions are stripped, it would change the Senate’s version of the overall fix. …

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(It is the current rule of the Senate after all. Named after Robert Byrd who has been a Senator since January 3, 1959 and is the senior US Senator from West Virginia, former Senate Leader of the Democratic Party, the longest-serving Senator as well as the longest-serving member in congressional history. He has been the Dean of the Senate since 2003 and is currently the President pro tempore.)

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