Conrad sending out more oracular warnings to which no one seems to listen

A few weeks ago I focussed on Senate Budget Committee chairman Ken Conrad’s statements about the impossibility, changed to difficulty, of passing the bill in the Senate by reconciliation. His statements, authoritative-sounding at first, seemed increasingly impenetrable and ambiguous. Now he’s saying that even though House Democrats have stripped out of the bill every “fix” that might be challenged by the Senate Republicans or the Senate parliamentarian, it is not possible to get authoritative word from the parliamentarian on how he will rule on all the fixes prior to the bill’s arriving in the Senate, and that it’s likely that some of the House fixes will be stopped by Republican invocations of the Byrd rule, which can only be overcome by a 3/5 vote, which, of course, the Democrats do not have. Therefore there is a good chance that the Senate will pass a bill that is not identical to the House bill. Which means that the bill after being approved by the Senate would have to go back to the House for a second vote (or a second deeming?). However, it also means that it is not possible for the Senate to guarantee to the House in advance of the House vote that the House fixes will be approved by the Senate. Which would seem to place a powerful obstacle in the way of at least some House hold-outs voting for the bill at all.

Conrad says that according to the parliamentarian, every provision of a budget reconciliation bill must have a budget impact and cannot be “extraneous.” Then how in heck can the House add the massive federalization of education loans, completely unrelated to the health care bill, to the health care bill?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 18, 2010 07:46 PM | Send

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