« BACK  |  PRINT

RS

MEMBER DIARY

Reconciliation is okay because someone wrote a letter for Byrd saying so

I’m sure this will have the Senators in tears.

Maybe the way to pass cap and tax is to take the next House bill that renames whatever is left in WV not already named after Byrd and then “fix” it via reconciliation to include cap and tax.

And of course all the President’s claimed “fixes” in his “plan” will either reduce income or increase expenses, so none of it fits under Byrd’s definition of “reconciliation (when Democrats are in the majority)” anyway.

Thursday March 4, 2010
Reconciliation can be used to find savings

It has been said that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. In the Daily Mail’s March 2 editorial regarding health care reform legislation, “Using reconciliation would hurt Democrats: Choking off debate is no way to muscle through health legislation,” the newspaper’s misunderstanding of congressional procedures misinforms readers who, in rapidly increasing numbers, find themselves unable to obtain or afford medical insurance.

The editorial correctly quoted me as saying in the spring of 2009 that using reconciliation to enact a huge health care package would “violate the intent and spirit of the budget process . . .”.

I believed then, as now, that the Senate should debate the health reform bill under regular rules, which it did. The result of that debate was the passing of a comprehensive health care reform bill in the Senate by a 60-vote supermajority.

I continue to support the budget reconciliation process for deficit reduction. The entire Senate- or House- passed health care bill could not and would not pass muster under the current reconciliation rules, which were established under my watch.

Yet a bill structured to reduce deficits by, for example, finding savings in Medicare or lowering health care costs, may be consistent with the Budget Act, and appropriately considered under reconciliation.
With all due respect, the Daily Mail’s hyperbole about “imposing government control,” acts of “disrespect to the American people” and “corruption” of Senate procedures resembles more the barkings from the nether regions of Glennbeckistan than the “sober and second thought” of one of West Virginia’s oldest and most respected daily newspapers.

My commitment to protecting the best interests of all West Virginians and the American people remains as firm and consistent as my devotion to observing the necessary and essential Senate rules and procedures intended to guarantee debate and the airing of diverse views.

Robert C. Byrd

Washington, D.C.

Get Alerts