Budget Reconciliation and Health Care

I agree with Jonathan Zasloff about this. People saying things about how you “can’t” do certain things through the reconciliation process are being somewhat disingenuous. Joe Biden, Harry Reid, and 49 others Senators can do pretty much whatever they like. Even if there is some problem with the rulings of the parliamentarian, they can appoint a new parliamentarian who’ll offer better rulings. They could appoint me. They could abolish the office of parliamentarian. They could follow Caligula and appoint a favored horse to be parliamentarian.

The issue with this last proposal isn’t that they couldn’t do it, it’s that they shouldn’t do it and you’d never find 50 votes plus the VP to do it. But a majority of Senators “can” do pretty much whatever it likes. The Senate is an independent branch of government that makes, interprets, and enforces its own rules. There’s nothing stopping a determined majority from doing anything. If procedural objections to a reconciliation-track health care bill can’t be surmounted, that’s because the votes aren’t there to do it not because “the rules” are preventing it from happening.