[R]econciliation cannot be used to pass comprehensive health care reform. It won't work. It won't work because it was never designed for that kind of significant legislation. It was designed for deficit reduction... It will not work because of the Byrd rule which says anything that doesn't score for budget purposes has to be eliminated. That would eliminate all the delivery system reform, all the insurance market reform, all of those things the experts tell us are really the most important parts of this bill. The only possible role that I can see for reconciliation would be make modest changes in the major package to improve affordability, to deal with what share of Medicaid expansion the federal government pays, those kinds of issues, which is the traditional role for reconciliation in health care.Unfortunately, RedState jumped the gun. As it turns out, Conrad thinks that reconciliation can be used to pass health care reform:
This is a bit awkward for the losers at RedState. They are typical conservatives in that they believe that liberals are complete morons. Their megalomania is so pronounced that they believe that they know Congressional rules better than those in Congress do. According to Erik Erickson, "What the Democrats want to do is use reconciliation to fix legislation before it is enacted into law." But "reconciliation can only apply to fix legislation already signed into law by the President." This, of course, contradicts Kent Conrad, who RealQuiet had cited as an authority for his or her own mistaken opinion.
“Reporters don’t seem to be able to get this straight,” Conrad said, hitting the “misreporting” he said is widespread. “Comprehensive health care reform will not work through reconciliation. But if the House passes the Senate bill, and wants certain things improved on, like affordability, the Medicaid provisions, how much of Medicaid expenses are paid for by the Federal government, that is something that could be done through reconciliation.”
“A sidecar would be a good candidate for reconciliation depending on what’s in it,” Conrad said, adding that he didn’t think fixes to abortion or immigration provions would likely work, something that could create obstacles to passing the Senate bill in the House.
Conrad also explained in new detail why he believes that the House must pass the Senate bill first, a view that has been denounced by some critics who want the Senate to pass its fix before the House acts.
Conrad said that under Congressional rules, for a reconciliation fix to be “scored,” it’s not necessary that it become law, but it is necessary for it to have passed both houses of Congress before getting fixed. “For the scoring to change it has to have passed Congress, and that means both houses,” he said.
“The only thing that works here is the House has to pass the Senate bill,” Conrad continued. “Then the House can initiate a reconciliation measure that would deal with a limited number of issues that score for budget purposes.” After that, the Senate would pass the same reconciliation fix, Conrad explained, because even on the fix itself the House must go first because the lower chamber must initiate “revenue bills.”
This is awkward because the RedState losers have been abusing people left and right for misunderstanding Congressional rules. So hogan, after quoting former comedian Dennis Miller (who is now about as funny as the genocide in Darfur) tells everyone that Sen. Bunning's objection to unanimous consent is "not a filibuster you freaking idiots," "as is increasingly well known to those who actually are capable of comprehension."
Some of the bloggers at RedState are capable of irony, it appears, even if they haven't the slightest understanding of the concept.