The Nuclear Option

Since Scott Brown was elected to the Senate, the Democrats no longer have a filibuster-proof majority. This means that if they should try to push the massively unpopular health care bill through, the Republicans can use a filibuster to block its passage. The Democrats can, however, get around this using the so-called nuclear option, which would limit debate on the bill and force a simple majority vote. Such a move is considered risky politically and not a very proper way to conduct business.

Naturally, the Republicans don’t want the Democrats to call for reconciliation. The Democrats, however, are seeing it as the only way to pass Obamacare, and are become more and more open to the prospect, and the White House is now calling for reconciliation. Majority Leader Harry Reid has even gone so far as to tell Republicans to “stop crying” about the impending nuclear option.

Oh, how times have changed.

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Harry Reid was one of the loudest voices against this practice when Bush was in the White House. He and his fellow hypocrites… er, I mean Democrats… made speech after speech denouncing the Republicans as destroying our democracy when THEY wanted to use the process to pass what they wanted passed.

Human Events has a entire list of quotes from prominent Democrats decrying the evils of reconciliation.

Barack Obama 4/25/05: “The President hasn’t gotten his way. And that is now prompting a change in the Senate rules that really I think would change the character of the Senate forever…what I worry about would be that you essentially still have two chambers the House and the Senate but you have simply majoritarian absolute power on either side, and that’s just not what the founders intended.”

Harry Reid 5/18/2005: “Mr. President the right to extended debate is never more important than the one party who controls congress and the white house. In these cases the filibuster serves as a check on power and preserves our limited government.”

Dianne Feinstein 5/18/2005: The nuclear option if successful will turn the Senate into a body that could have its rules broken at any time by a majority of senators unhappy with any position taken by the minority. It begins with judicial nominations. Next will be executive appointments and then legislation.

Joe Biden 5/23/2005: This nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power. It is a fundamental power grab.

Joe Biden 5/23/05: “I say to my friends on the Republican side you may own the field right now buy you won’t own it forever I pray God when the Democrats take back control we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing.”

Guess its different when it’s the Democrats’ legislation on the line.


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  1. #1 by Ben Hoffman on Thu 25 Feb 2010 - 16:57

    Reconciliation and the nuclear option are not the same thing, Einstein.

    • #2 by The Republican Heretic on Thu 25 Feb 2010 - 17:14

      The Nuclear Option refers to a procedural means of bypassing the filibuster. Forcing reconciliation is being used as a procedural means to bypass a filibuster.

  2. #3 by Ben Hoffman on Thu 25 Feb 2010 - 17:56

    Reconciliation refers to reconciling the budget. The nuclear option an attempt to get activist judges approved, as was the case with the Republicans a few years ago.

  3. #6 by Jesusland on Fri 26 Feb 2010 - 12:34

    >>>Reconciliation refers to reconciling the budget.

    Reconciliation is nothing but a nuclear option to bypass the filibuster regarding the budget.

    “Nuclear option” is just a nickname for bypassing the filibuster regarding judges.

    We can play these games all day.

  4. #7 by Jesusland on Fri 26 Feb 2010 - 12:35

    ps., Health care isn’t the budget. So reconciliation doesn’t even apply here. It’s an unconstitutional power grab.

  5. #8 by ThomPaine on Sun 28 Feb 2010 - 21:48

    Nuclear option: reducing the number of votes needed for cloture, which ends a filibuster. This was threatened as a means to stop the impasse and get federal judges appointed.

    Reconciliation: the simplified procedure by which differing bills from the House and Senate are brought into concord so that they can be passed by a simple majority vote.

    Which is worse? Whatever the democrats are trying to do. You’re arguing semantics while the democrats are about to get the government to ‘reform’ health care. It doesn’t matter how they do it; no one needs to get health care without having to pay for it.

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