Romney Shows Republicans How Not to Fret the Filibuster

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 12 2011 10:59 AM

Romney Shows Republicans How Not to Fret the Filibuster

While everybody else was getting distracted by 9-9-9, Mitt Romney used one of his health care answers to say something important.

We have to repeal Obamacare, and I will do that on day two, with the reconciliation bill, because as you know, it was passed by reconciliation, 51 votes. We can get rid of it with 51 votes.

What is Romney referring to? If you've managed to scrub the excruciating 2009-2010 health care fight from your brain, I will recap: The health care bill that passed was the product of a year of negotiation followed by an emergency measure. A health care bill passed the House in November 2009. A weaker health care bill (no public option) passed in December 2010, with the Democrats' brief 60-seat majority breaking a Republican filibuster. And then Scott Brown won in Massachusetts. In normal circumstances (or what passes for them), Democrats would have started conferencing the House and Senate bills, coming up with something that would have to break another GOP filibuster. With no chance of doing that, they compromised: House Democrats passed a version of the Senate bill. Senate Democrats, having already voted on most of the bill, held a vote on the changes, which passed through reconciliation -- a process that allows changes to the budget on simple majority rule votes. No longer needing 60 votes, Democrats passed the changes 56-43.

Romney is embracing an idea a lot of people first heard from Keith Hennessey back in February. Take back the Senate in 2012. Hold a reconciliation vote. Undo all of Obamacare that you can.

Reconciliation is a procedural tool primarily used to change spending and revenues, deficits and debt.  Repeal of the subsidies, the individual mandate, the insurance provisions, and the Medicaid expansions would, in each case, directly affect spending and revenues, so it would be a straight-up-the-middle use of reconciliation for deficit reduction.  Democrats who argued in 2009 that it was OK to use reconciliation to create these provisions would find those same rulings working against them in 2013.  A few minor odds and ends could not be repealed in reconciliation.  That is strategically unimportant.

This is now the policy of the likely Republican nominee.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Gives Fetuses Lawyers and Puts Teenage Girls on Trial

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

Natasha Lyonne Is Coming to the Live Culture Gabfest. Are You?

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.


How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The Secret Service’s Big Problems Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

  News & Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
Oct. 2 2014 12:10 PM Women of America, Here Are the Cities Where You Can Find Marriageable Men
The Vault
Oct. 2 2014 11:07 AM Mapping 1890 Manhattan's Crazy-Quilt of Immigrant Neighborhoods
  Double X
Oct. 2 2014 11:34 AM Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Putting teenage girls on trial may finally be too much for the Supreme Court.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 2 2014 12:04 PM The Audio Book Club Debates Gone Girl, the Novel
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 11:41 AM Dropbox Recruiting Video Features Puppets and Data Privacy
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 2 2014 9:49 AM In Medicine We Trust Should we worry that so many of the doctors treating Ebola in Africa are missionaries?
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?