With Democrats holding out the possibility that they could use the budget reconciliation process to pass health care reform by a majority vote, conservatives have been hypocritically decrying the tactic as “as an act of violence” against the minority party. In a budget meeting today, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) compared the potential use of reconciliation to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s strong-arm tactics:
With a mix of cutting terms and dire warnings, Republicans expressed outrage over the prospect of employing the procedural process known as reconciliation to pass such a major policy initiative.
Senator Judd Gregg, alluding to the recent encounter between President Obama and Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, accused the White House and Congressional Democrats of abusing their power. “I can understand shaking Hugo Chavez’s hand, but I can’t understand embracing his politics,” said Mr. Gregg of New Hampshire, the senior Republican on the Budget Committee.
As ThinkProgress has previously noted, Gregg supported the use of reconciliation when Republicans controlled Congress and the White House. “We are using the rules of the Senate here,” said Gregg in 2005 as he defended using reconciliation to open up drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. “Is there something wrong with majority rules? I don’t think so.”