Is it true that the Democrats are not planning to use reconciliation at this point?
A reader thinks that at present the Democrats are not pursuing reconciliation, but are simply trying to get enough votes in the House to pass the Senate bill in its present form and have the president (it still feels strange and inappropriate to refer to that enemy alien by that title) sign it into law.
If that were the case, the House leadership would not have been negotiating with Rep. Stupak over the abortion language. But, according to media reports, they have been negotiating with him over it. Meaning, presumably, that they are trying to find a compromise between the abortion language in the House bill (the Stupak amendment), which absolutely prohibits federal funding for abortion, and the abortion language in the Senate bill, which is less strict. Meaning that the abortion language in the Senate bill will have to be changed after the House passes it. Which, because of Scott Brown (thank God for Scott Brown), can only be passed in the Senate via reconciliation. Therefore the reader’s idea is incorrect.
However, since the abortion provision is not a budgetary provision and is not related to reducing the deficit, it cannot, according to the rules governing reconciliation, be changed by reconciliation. But the Senate Democrats may be planning simply to ignore those rules.