March 3, 2010

SO ARE ALL THE DEMOCRATS UP FOR RE-ELECTION WILLING TO JUST RETIRE, LIKE HIM?:

Bayh: Reconciliation to Take Senate Into ‘Uncharted Waters’ (Janet Adamy, 3/02/10, WSJ)

For those not following the play-by-play, Democrats last hope for sending a roughly $1 trillion package to President Barack Obama is to have the House pass the Senate version, and then have the Senate adopt a package of changes to win over House Democrats using reconciliation. The procedure was designed for passing budget legislation and requires a simple majority instead of the 60 votes the Senate needed to clear its health care bill Christmas Eve.

Bayh said the biggest potential Senate roadblock is that while reconciliation can prevent Republicans from filibustering, it can’t stop them from offering an unlimited number of amendments. For perspective, consider that Bayh threw out the figure of 10,000 amendments when explaining this hypothetical scenario, and predicted the process would eat up “weeks” in the chamber.

It would be up to the Senate’s parliamentarian to rule whether the amendments were in good faith, or just a veiled attempt at a filibuster. “That’s going to be a very hard decision for him to make,” Bayh said.

So the parliamentarian is likely to deflect the decision, leaving Vice President Joe Biden – with his constitutional authority as Senate honcho – to overrule him and halt the Republicans. But first, the Senate would have to approve that arrangement with a majority vote.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 3, 2010 6:27 AM
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