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Good News for the Dems

March 12, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Nobody know for sure what the Parliamentarian will rule, but Politico Pulse reports that sources are telling them something very different from what Republicans were claiming yesterday:

But according to reporting by POLITICO’s David Rogers, the accounts aren’t accurate and misconstrue what the Senate parliamentarians have said. That is that reconciliation must amend law but this could be done without the Senate bill being enacted first. “It is wholly possible to create law and qualify law before the law is on the books,” said one person familiar with situation.

For example, if the big bill itself amends some Social Security statute, reconciliation could be written to do the same —with changes sought by the House. Then if reconciliation is passed and signed by President Barack Obama after he signs the larger bill, the changes made in reconciliation would prevail. This jives with what Pulse sources were saying soon after the first wave of stories hit – in essence, don’t take the reported parliamentarian’s declaration to the bank.

CQ is repoting much the same thing.

Why is this so important? Because House Democrats most likely don’t have the votes to pass the more conservative Senate health care bill (H.R.3590) without a guarantee that some of the provisions they oppose most will be fixed. The fixes will be in the budget reconciliation bill — so they need to know ahead of time that the Senate can get that past Senate Republicans and conservative Senate Democrats. The only way for them to be sure is to actually have it passed first, which, contrary to the Republicans, the Parliamentarian isn’t necessarily saying they can’t do.

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