Reconciliation is not the ‘nuclear option’

RECONCILIATION IS NOT THE ‘NUCLEAR OPTION’…. I can only assume we’ll be hearing a lot of talk like this.

Sen. Scott Brown yesterday warned the Obama administration against using the “nuclear option” of ramming through Congress a revised $1 trillion health-care bill outlined yesterday by the White House. […]

“If the Democrats try to ram their health-care bill through Congress using reconciliation, they are sending a dangerous signal to the American people that they will stop at nothing to raise our taxes, increase premiums and slash Medicare,” said Brown spokesman Colin Reed in a statement. “Using the nuclear option damages the concept of representative leadership and represents more of the politics-as-usual that voters have repeatedly rejected.”

Now, I realize that Scott Brown is not exactly fact-oriented, and he doesn’t see it as his job to worry about the substance of public policy, but let’s just present a few facts that seem relevant here.

1. Reconciliation is not the “nuclear option.” This is the “nuclear option.”

2. When a majority of the Senate votes in favor of pending legislation, it’s not an example of “ramming” a bill through Congress.

3. Brown’s office’s description of the Democratic reform is demonstrably ridiculous. It’s especially ironic to hear the GOP talk about “slashing” Medicare.

4. Republicans loved using reconciliation when they were in the majority, using it for all kinds of sweeping pieces of legislation, including bills related to health care.

5. Reconciliation exists for exactly the kind of circumstances Democrats are facing now.

Is this really that hard to understand? Probably not, but Republicans are pretending to be outraged, hoping that the public won’t know better.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.