HCR Is Exactly the Sort of Situation Reconciliation is For


Via Mark Kleiman, a smart take on the reconciliation question from Henry Aaron:

The idea of using reconciliation has raised concern among some supporters of health care reform. They fear that reform opponents would consider the use of reconciliation high-handed. But in fact Congress created reconciliation procedures to deal with precisely this sort of situation — its failure to implement provisions of the previous budget resolution. The 2009 budget resolution instructed both houses of Congress to enact health care reform. The House and the Senate have passed similar but not identical bills. Since both houses have acted but some work remains to be done to align the two bills, using reconciliation to implement the instructions in the budget resolution follows established congressional procedure.

Well said. The real issue, I think, is that at this point there seem to be a bunch of Senators who are basically desperately casting around for some kind of excuse as to why they can’t go and finish the job. They don’t really want to finish the job, but they also don’t want to admit that they don’t want to finish the job. So they’re trying to come up with some external constraint that’s preventing them.