Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reconcile This

The Republicans are all worked up — which begs the question as to when aren’t they — about the Democrats’ plan to push through the president’s budget through a parliamentary move called budget reconciliation where they only need 51 votes to pass in the Senate and get around the filibuster.

“That would be the Chicago approach to governing: Strong-arm it through,” said Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who briefly considered joining the Obama administration as commerce secretary. “You’re talking about the exact opposite of bipartisan. You’re talking about running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them in the Chicago River.”

Ah, but that old short-term memory loss seems to be kicking in; just a few years ago, Mr. Gregg was all in favor of budget reconciliation. But Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) reminds him of the times the GOP used the same tactic to get their measures passed.

The budget reconciliation process has been used most years since it was first used in 1980, including in recent years when Republicans controlled Congress and considered the following legislation:

* 2005 – Legislation That Reduced Spending on Medicaid and Raised Premiums on Upper-Income Medicare Beneficiaries

* 2003 – President Bush’s 2003 Tax Cuts

* 2001 – President Bush’s Signature $1.35 Trillion Tax Cut

* 2000 – $292 Billion “Marriage Penalty” Tax Cut (VETOED)

* 1997 – Balanced Budget Act

* 1996 – Legislation to Enact Welfare Reform

* 1995 – “Contract With America” Agenda

To be fair, not all Democrats, including the president, are in favor of using the tactic to get the budget passed, but it just goes to show you that while the Republican leadership may have forgotten their own history, they never forget that whatever they do, It’s Okay If You’re a Republican.