I think the Senate leadership has good reason to not want to try to push health care reform through under the budget reconciliation process. But I also think it’s much easier to imagine a pretty good bill passing under standard procedure if it’s clear to Senators that the alternative to breaking a filibuster is reconciliation rather than no bill. That levels the bargaining position. Progressive members are being asked to support a bill that contains provisions they don’t necessarily like on the grounds that the overall package is better than the alternative. That needs to be a two-way street in which moderate members are, likewise, prepared to vote for a bill even if they don’t get there way on every single point. The prospect of reconciliation is the best way to motivate that choice.
So I was glad to read this:
In response to a question from TPMDC Nelson told reporters that, at a meeting this afternoon with Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Reid “talked about process, procedure, discussion about reconciliation and a whole host of issues of that sort.”
“Nobody’s really jumping up and down to push for reconciliation,” Nelson said, “he’s not threatening that, but anybody can conclude that if you don’t move something on to the floor, that is one of the possibilities.”
That’s right. Doing nothing should not be an option. If it’s not possible to achieve cloture, then the best thing to do is get the best bill you can get through the reconciliation process.