JONATHAN CHAIT MARCH 8, 2010
Today's Wall Street Journal editorial page has one of those sentences that make the Wall Street Journal editorial page such a daily delight: "Last week President Obama sanctioned 'reconciliation,' a complex tactic that would jam ObamaCare into law on sheer power politics." The beautiful thing about this sentence is that it has no argument (nor is there any support for the argument in the sentences that surround it.) It's sheer hand-waving, an attempt to muster every adjective in the writer's power to make the process of voting sound frightening and sinister.
Likewise, I could write, "This morning, controversial foreign billionaire media boss Rupert Murdoch gave his cronies the go-ahead to chop down and mutilate hundreds of trees, pulverize the carcasses until they were rendered unrecognizable, and then order their underlings to fill the pages with propaganda for the business class, with any refusal to comply punished by the forfeiture of wages and access to health care." But that would be a fairly slanted way to describe the process of publishing a newspaper.
If you're still interested in dissecting the absurd procedural case against using budget reconciliation to amend the health care bill, Congressional experts Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann have an op-ed (and accompanying chart) in Sunday's New York Times:
While the use of reconciliation in this case — amending a bill that has already passed the Senate via cloture — is new, it is compatible with the law, Senate rules and the framers’ intent.