QUOTE OF THE DAY…. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has heard quite a few cries of late from Republicans about how truly awful it is to vote on legislation by majority rule. I get the feeling he’s tired of it.
Reid said reconciliation had been used 21 times since 1981, mostly by Republicans when they were in control of the Senate for the passage of items like the Bush tax cuts.
Under reconciliation, Democrats would need a simple majority in the Senate to pass legislation, as opposed to the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.
“They should stop crying about reconciliation as if it’s never been done before,” Reid said.
Following Senate Democrats’ weekly luncheon, Reid said “nothing is off the table” but that “realistically, they should stop crying about this. It’s been done 21 times before.”
Reid added that he recommends Republicans “go back and look at history,” at which point they’ll realize that GOP majorities used reconciliation “more than anyone else.”
I’m delighted to hear Reid explain this to reporters, for a variety of reasons. First, Reid’ observations are accurate. I’m old-fashioned, I know, but I find the addition of truth to the debate heartening.
Second, it’s something reporters on the Hill really need to hear. If Democrats pursue health care reform through reconciliation, as is extremely likely, the media will be tempted to do what Republicans tell outlets to do — characterize this as some kind of abuse or legislative “trick.” Reid’s remarks today, then, were a reminder for reporters who may have forgotten — Republicans have used reconciliation plenty of times, on plenty of bills. GOP officials who whine about this should, at a minimum, be asked why Dems can’t use the same legislative tools Republicans have used.
And third, the “stop crying” rhetoric conveys an image of strength for the majority. The way Reid made it sound, Republicans are whining, while Democrats are trying to govern.
Seems like the kind of message Dems may want to repeat as often as possible.