Lamar Alexander Won’t Rule Out Using Reconciliation To Repeal Health Care Reform

Yesterday on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) attacked Democrats for considering using reconciliation to pass health care reform, saying it would be “the end of the Senate.” Yet Alexander himself has voted for bills using reconciliation at least four times in his Senate career.

Today on Fox News, Alexander said that if Democrats pass health care, he will lead the GOP charge to repeal it. “We’ll spend the rest of the year in the campaign to try to repeal it,” he said, adding that “the health care bill is going to define every Democratic candidate for every public office in November.”

Later on ABC’s Top Line, Alexander again attacked reconciliation and reiterated his repeal pledge, but the Tennessee senator wouldn’t rule out using reconciliation to repeal health care reform:

Q: If the Democrats succeed in jamming this through on reconciliation, would you be open to using the very same process – reconciliation – to repeal health care reform?

ALEXANDER: I don’t like using the reconciliation for this. I’ve tried to be consistent in my views. […]

Q: Is reconciliation something you would say, “We would never use for something substantive legislation like health care?” Are you prepared to make that kind of statement?

ALEXANDER: No I’m not going to prepare to make any kind of statement. I’m prepared to say it shouldn’t be done now and if it shouldn’t be done now it shouldn’t be done in the future.

Watch it (starting at 4:40):

It doesn’t make sense that using reconciliation to pass health care reform would be “the end of the Senate,” yet using the process to repeal it would be perfectly acceptable.

“The goal of the repeal movement is to intimidate Democrats into inaction and raise money,” notes the Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky, adding that “they’ll be attacked for voting for an unpopular bill and portrayed as weak for abandoning an effort they fervently championed. Then again, if Democrats are willing to take their campaign advice from Republicans, maybe they shouldn’t be in Congress in the first place.”