Rich Galen

Here's what the Senate's glossary page says about the reconciliation process: A process established in the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 by which Congress changes existing laws to conform tax and spending levels to the levels set in a budget resolution. Changes recommended by committees pursuant to a reconciliation instruction are incorporated into a reconciliation measure.

Which makes my head hurt.

Anyway, the Democrats are claiming that the fix-it bill coming back from the House is really a budget reconciliation bill and thus needs only a simple majority.

Senate Republicans, as you might imagine, are in hearty disagreement with this theory.

The Senate Parliamentarian ruled that the reconciliation bill can't be presented to the Senate until the President has signed the underlying bill - there has to be something to reconcile. So, the Senate will wait to take up the fixes until after the signing ceremony at the White House.

Here's where I think the plan fails: If I have to buy insurance to drive a car, that's fine. I don't have to drive. I can walk, ride a bike, take the bus, whatever.

If I have to pay an airport tax to help defray the costs of the TSA, that's fine, too. I don't have to get on an airplane. I can walk, ride a bike, take the bus, whatever.

This bill says that I have to purchase health insurance. I don't have to drive or fly, but I do have to live, so that that seems to be a government seizure forbidden by the Fourth Amendment.

If I was on shaky ground on the reconciliation thing, given the single Con Law class I took from Professor Robert Hill at Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio 45750 I might be on quicksand on this one, but there you have it.

At about 10:48 last night, the vote was gaveled into history and the bill was adopted 219 - 212 - three votes to spare.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at