Graham Falsely Claims GOP Has Only Used Reconciliation With ‘Bipartisan Support’

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"Graham Falsely Claims GOP Has Only Used Reconciliation With ‘Bipartisan Support’"

With President Obama endorsing the use of the budget reconciliation process in the Senate to finish health care reform, Republicans have flown into overdrive to discredit the simple majority procedural tool. Use of reconciliation would be “ripping a piece of the fabric of America off,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) on Saturday.

On CBS News’ Face The Nation today, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) declared that use of reconciliation “would be catastrophic.” Sensitive to charges of hypocrisy over the fact that Republicans have pushed legislation through the reconciliation process more often than Democrats have, Graham claimed that every time the GOP used reconciliation the bills “received bipartisan support”:

GRAHAM: Well, reconciliation will be used to clean up the Senate bill to make House members happy. House members are going to vote for the Senate bill and they hate it. And the Senate and the president saying, OK, we’re going to change what you don’t like.

And when it comes to the Republicans, you all don’t matter anymore. You just need a simple majority. So reconciliation will empower a bill that was very partisan. We’ve had reconciliation votes, but all of them had received bipartisan support. The least was 12 when we did reconciliation with tax cuts.

Watch it:

Graham’s claim that “the least” amount of Democratic votes a GOP reconciliation bill received “was 12″ is flat out false. As The Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky has detailed, during the Bush presidency, the Republican-controlled Senate passed three reconciliation bills with three or less Democratic votes. The 2003 Bush tax cuts were supported by only two Democrats and needed Vice President Dick Cheney’s tie-breaking vote to pass:


Vote Count Bipartisan support?
College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007*
79-12-9 Yes, although all 12 voting against it were Republicans
Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005* 54-44-2 3 Democrats (Nelson (D-NE), Nelson (D-FL), Pryor (D-AR)) voted for it
Deficit Reduction Act of 2005* 52-47 2 Democrats (Landrieu (D-LA) and Nelson (D-NE))
Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003* 50-50 2 Democrats (Nelson (D-NE) and Miller (D-GA)) voted for it
Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001* 58-33-2-7 Yes
Marriage Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2000* 60-34-5 Yes
Taxpayer Refund and Relief Act of 1999* 50-49 Yes, 3 Democrats (Breaux (D-LA), Landrieu (D-LA), Torricelli (D-NJ)) voted for it
Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 92-8 Yes
Balanced Budget Act of 1997* 85-15 Yes
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act* 74-24-2 Yes
Balanced Budget Act of 1995* 52-47 Yes
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 49-49-2 No
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990* 54-46 Yes
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989* 87-7-6 Yes

In 2005, Graham voted for two of the reconciliation bills that passed with three or fewer Democratic votes, the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 and the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.

Transcript:

BAYH: But I do think that — a couple of things. And Lindsey will probably have a difference of opinion on this one. The bill that’s going to come before the Senate is not the large omnibus health care bill. It is instead a corrections bill that gets out the Cornhusker Kickback nobody liked, the special arrangement for Florida that many states objected. It treats middle class families a little bit better on the tax side of things. So it is a — it’s not one-sixth of the American economy. It’s a much smaller piece of legislation.

And secondly, my guess is that, you know, a lot of your viewers and Americans are looking at this, thinking, I don’t understand all of this procedural stuff. Let’s focus on the substance. And if you think that it’s actually going to be better for the American people, vote for it. And if you think it’s going to be harmful, don’t vote for it.

And for me, it was a close call in my mind on this bill. This is not the way I would have written it. But for me it eventually came down, we need to try something. It may not be perfect, but we need to try something. If it doesn’t work exactly the way we would hope, let’s come back and correct it.

But to just sit here year after year letting things fester, that’s not the right way to go.

GRAHAM: Well, reconciliation will be used to clean up the Senate bill to make House members happy. House members are going to vote for the Senate bill and they hate it. And the Senate and the president saying, OK, we’re going to change what you don’t like.

And when it comes to the Republicans, you all don’t matter anymore. You just need a simple majority. So reconciliation will empower a bill that was very partisan. We’ve had reconciliation votes, but all of them had received bipartisan support. The least was 12 when we did reconciliation with tax cuts.

So it is taking a partisan product and making it law. And I was in the Gang of 14. Remember the nuclear option with judges when we almost changed the rules? I was one of seven Democrats — seven Republicans, seven Democrats who said, don’t do that. Don’t pull the nuclear trigger. I’m glad I was in that gang. I got the heck beat out of me. We didn’t change the rules. This will be the same effect as if you had changed the rules for judges. It would be catastrophic.

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