Congressional Democrats and the Obama administration have floated using “budget reconciliation” to pass health care reform — where only 51 votes would be required for approval of a bill — to bypass the increasing number of Republican filibuster threats. In response, Senate Republicans have said they would “grind the Senate to a virtual halt”; Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) explained that reconciliation would be “the nuclear war.” Today, GOP up-and-comer Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), however, said it is Democrats’ “right” to use budget reconciliation:
“It’s their right. They did win the election,” said Ryan, R-Wis. “That’s what I tell all my constituents who are worried about this. They won the election. They did run on these ideas. They did run on nationalizing health care. So, you’re right about that. They have the votes with reconciliation. They nailed down the process so that they can make sure they have the votes and that they can get this thing through really fast. It is their right. It is what they can do.”
Notably, much of President Bush’s agenda was passed in Republican-controlled Congresses using budget reconciliation. At the Wonk Room, Igor Volsky writes that reconciliation is the key to achieving health care reform.