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Reconciliation is necessary

What Congress didn’t say

am in complete support of President Obama pursuing a course involving reconciliation on health care reform. Yet, the reconciliation I’m advocating has nothing to DANNY HANLON do with improperly CONTRIBUTING using a rare Senate COLUMNIST procedural rule. President Obama needs to reconcile over health care- he needs to reconcile with the American people. The American public has clearly rejected Obamacare time and again over the past year. It started in angry town halls all across the nation, and then continued with elections in New Jersey, Virginia and, most shockingly, Massachusetts. Now a recent CNN poll reports that 73 percent of Americans fully reject Obamacare, with 48 percent wanting Congress to start from scratch and 25 percent saying they want Obama to stop work on reforming health care altogether. And how did the President and Democrats in Congress react to this clear rejection? Like that person at a party who just won’t take a hint. They’ve used secret talks and sweetheart deals to ram through this unpopular and extremely costly legislation through the House and are poised to use

econci liat ion is a parliamentary procedure established in 1974 as a means of creating federal policies that are related to meeting Congress’ fiscal THOMAS PRIETO objectives. The proCONTRIBUTING cess limits debate to COLUMNIST 20 hours and does not allow for bills to be blocked by filibuster. In other words, only a simple majority is needed to pass the bill. Although the interpretation and usage of reconciliation has changed over the years, one thing has remained the same. The party out of power always opposes its use; the party in power always uses it. Republicans made three arguments against the use of budget reconciliation for the health care legislation. First, they claimed that budget reconciliation goes against the founders’ intent. Curiously, Republicans weren’t making that argument when they were in power. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), who opposed its use to pass the Democrats’ health care bill, actually supported its use in 2005 to pass President Bush’s tax cuts. In fact, Republicans have historically used reconciliation more than


reconciliation in passing a related fix-it bill in the Senate. How did the public respond to this latest move? That same CNN poll reported that 52 percent of Americans were outright against the use of reconciliation to pass health care reform. With these numbers in mind, you can understand why Congressional Democrats wince every time Nancy Pelosi and President Obama mention reconciliation. The reason America rejects Obamacare is due to a fundamental flaw in the bill. The glaring problem with our health care system is cost, yet this bill does not do enough to reduce it through medical malpractice reform, increasing private competition or a myriad of other ideas that have been offered. Instead, Obama chooses to concentrate his efforts, and our overextended wallets, on expanding coverage. That’s like having a party which is too expensive for the people already attending, then inviting even more people who have even less income than those already there. Regardless, President Obama needs to be cognizant of one important thing when using reconciliation: there is one time when Washington must pay attention to the desires of America- election day. Danny Hanlon is a senior majoring in political science. He can be contacted at dhanlon@


Democrats. Since its inception, budget reconciliation has been used 23 times. Republican presidents have signed 17 of these bills. Second, Republicans argued that reconciliation should be used solely for budgetary purposes and not health care reform. Once again, they seem to be suffering from selective memory. In 1986, President Reagan signed the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 into law. The bill, which was supported by Republicans, contained health care provisions. Finally, Republicans contend that reconciliation should not be used to pass a bill that raises deficits like the Democrats’ health care reform bill. Unfortunately, this argument is not only hypocritical, but also incredibly misleading. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the Democrat’s health care reform bill will actually decrease the deficit by $132 billion over the first decade and $1 trillion or more over the next. Republicans actually used reconciliation to pass Bush’s tax cuts, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates increased budget deficits by $60 billion in 2003 and by $340 billion in 2008. Thomas Prieto is a senior majoring in political science. He may be contacted at

Read more on Danny Hanlon and Thomas Prieto’s health care debate on THEMIAMIHURRICANE.COM I’M STUCK IN A COMIC! ©

MATT ROSEN // The Miami Hurricane

March 25 - March 28, 2010




The Miami Hurricane -- March 25, 2010  

The Miami Hurricane -- March 25, 2010