The Republican Rules of the Senate

05/08/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • D. Brad Wright Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Iowa

Republicans are outraged that Democrats would use reconciliation to ram health care reform legislation through Congress--jamming it down the throats of the American people. Democrats were once outraged that Republicans would use reconciliation to pursue drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It seems that whichever party is in the minority seems to think the filibuster's a great thing and the reconciliation process is terrible. However, as Republican Senator Judd Gregg clearly articulates, reconciliation is one of the rules of the Senate. "If you have 51 votes for your position, you win!" he exclaims. Well, the Democrats have 51 votes and then some right now, making the passage of health care reform through reconciliation a very viable option. Of course, Sen. Gregg opposes them doing so. It seems he--and I would argue pretty much every other member of Congress--wants to play by the rules only during those times that the rules benefit them.

As an aside, as boring as C-SPAN can be, it's the most unbiased information you're going to be able to get, because it isn't being passed through a mainstream media filter.

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