… for those now claiming that doing health insurance reform through the budget reconciliation process would be unprecedented:
COBRA, the law under which employees who leave their jobs can keep their health insurance, is an acronym. It originally stood for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. (That’s right: it was signed by Ronald Reagan.)
There’s a new twist on using reconciliation to pass a bill. Anything not budget-relevant can’t be done under reconciliation procedures without a 60-vote majority, the same as needed for the cloture motion that shuts off a filibuster. In this case, the 60 votes would be needed to waive the Byrd Amendment. But most of the hard stuff in the bill is directly budget-relevant. The stuff that isn’t budgetary – most of all, forbidding health insurers to exclude pre-existing conditions – is pretty hard to vote against. So some Senators who wouldn’t want to vote for cloture, and might even vote against the bill as a whole, might still vote for the Byrd Amendment waivers.