Henry Aaron on reconciliation

Health care reform was in the 2009 Budget Resolution. Using budget reconciliation to make it happen isn’t an “end-around;” it’s what reconciliation was designed to do.

I hadn’t thought of it this way, but the point is cogent:
The idea of using reconciliation has raised concern among some supporters of health care reform. They fear that reform opponents would consider the use of reconciliation high-handed. But in fact Congress created reconciliation procedures to deal with precisely this sort of situation — its failure to implement provisions of the previous budget resolution. The 2009 budget resolution instructed both houses of Congress to enact health care reform. The House and the Senate have passed similar but not identical bills. Since both houses have acted but some work remains to be done to align the two bills, using reconciliation to implement the instructions in the budget resolution follows established congressional procedure.


Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

3 thoughts on “Henry Aaron on reconciliation”

  1. "They fear that reform opponents would consider the use of reconciliation high-handed. "

    Anybody who fears this has got problems – the GOP clearly considers not running the country as high-handed behavior on the part of their enemies. It's been clear since the early 1990's. At this point I'd like to shake those people and point out the last 15 years.

  2. Reconciliation is for budget bills, and despite Democrats calling it a budget bill, it's not. Any more than a "revenue" bill which retains only the House's bill number really originated in the House, as constitutionally demanded.

    Yeah, it's illegitimate as a three dollar bill. Not that that matters, as a practical matter, the courts not caring about such things, and members of Congress, if anything, relishing breaking such rules.

    I don't think it's going to happen. Not because it's illegitimate, (That should be reason enough, but it's not.) not because Republicans won't like it. It's not going to happen, because too many Democrats see passing this bill as a political death sentence.

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