No unilateral disarmament

Obama has persuaded the Democrats in the Senate to hold open the option of doing health care reform under budget reconciliation.

Obama has persuaded the Senate leadership to put health care reform into the budget resolution, which makes it possible to force a bill through under budget reconciliation. That, in turn, means that it takes 50 Sentors plus the Vice President to pass a bill, rather than 60.

If the Republicans want to compromise on health care, the door is open. If they want to obstruct, they won’t be able to. Seems right to me. As to the Republican threat to throw a temper tantrum and tie up the Senate procedurally, I say: Bring it on.

Update Student loans, too. Apparently the President made this explicit in a meeting with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill: after they reacted to his concessions on the stimulus bill by providing exactly zero votes, he’s not inclined to make any more one-way gestures. Good!

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