Monday, July 19, 2010

Legislation of the Day

Remember "reconcilliation"? That's how the Dems passed some laws without 60 votes in the Senate. Well the good news is that it's off the table next year:
Recognizing that Democrats would be reluctant to record "yes" votes for a budget that would augment the deficit, the House leadership opted to deem as passed a "budget enforcement resolution" instead, just before the July 4 recess. While the distinction between an enforcement resolution and a full budget is largely technical, there is one crucial difference: Under the enforcement resolution, Democrats can no longer use a parliamentary tactic known as budget reconciliation next year -- a process Democrats had hoped might allow them to pass key pieces of legislation, such as a jobs bill, with 51 votes in the Senate, as opposed to the usual 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.

Under the arcane rules of the Senate, budget reconciliation can only be used if it was written into the budget rules passed the previous year. With no full budget, there can be no reconciliation. As a consequence, Democrats lose a valuable tool for passing budget-related items on a majority-rules vote.
Whatever the loss to fiscal accountability, it will be a useful check on Obama's 2011 spending--since Republicans are unlikely to take the Senate in November.


A_Nonny_Mouse said...

Reconciliation? Isn't that where both houses iron out differences between what the House and the Senate passed in their differing versions of bills?

Did they mean "deem-and-pass" in this case?

Carl said...

Actually, no, they meant reconciliation. That process allows the "correction" of supposedly "technical" differences, not impacting spending, on budget bills passed by both houses WITHOUT having to get 60 Senate votes.

A_Nonny_Mouse said...


Thanks for correcting my misunderstanding.