Dove has also said that while anything is possible, he’s never seen reconciliation used in the manner it might be used now. Reconciliation can only be used with budgetary matters, and while it might seem that every issue can be boiled down to a budgetary matter, that’s not really the case. Back in 2001, Dove threw out hundreds of amendments that he determined to have “alternative” goals, like abortion funding. That issue, he said, had too many policy ramifications to be ruled a fiscal issue.
No one can ascertain Frumin’s opinion on what alternative goals exist for what issues in the health care bill. Frumin works for the Democrats, but was originally appointed by Republicans. Most accounts paint him as judicious and to-the-letter in terms of abiding by Senate rule, but if he had an agenda, no one would know. This is a heck of an issue over which to exert control.
Furthermore, Joe Biden has the authority to overrule Frumin, though that hasn’t really been done before. Vice Presidential intervention hasn’t been done on an issue of this magnitude since 1968, and the use of reconciliation for anything but budgetary matters was outlawed in 1974.
The only thing that’s clear is that Obamacare will clear new ground in policy, procedure, and politics.