The Conference Committee

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I just saw Kent Conrad on MSNBC explaining that the reason the House needs to overwhelmingly give weigh to the Senate in the conference committee is that you can see how hard it is to get sixty votes in the Senate.

Pragmatically speaking, Conrad is absolutely correct about this. It is very difficult to get sixty votes in the Senate. And, pragmatically speaking, if House leaders want to see a health care bill signed they are going to have to give ground to the Senate on almost every point. But the smug tone in which Conrad said it rankled. A lot. The Senate rules of procedure aren’t handed down by God. They’re not even handed down by the United States Congress. They’re written by Senators. Senators like Kent Conrad. These are unjust rules. He could advocate changing them. Indeed, he has a moral obligation to do so. Not to go on TV preening about the fact that these unjust rules strengthen his bargaining position in a House-Senate conference.