Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Give ‘Em Heck, Harry

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) showed a little give-back to the GOP yesterday on the possibility of using reconciliation to pass the healthcare bill.

“Look at history,” Reid (D-NV ) told reporters who asked about GOP complaints. He said Republicans used reconciliation for Contract with America legislation and major items such as the Bush tax cuts.

“They’re the ones who used it more than anyone else,” he said.

[…]

“Since 1981, reconciliation has been used 21 times. The vast majority of those reconciliation efforts have been by Republicans,” he said. “[T]hey should stop crying about reconciliation as if it’s never been done before. It’s done almost every Congress, and they’re the ones that used it more than anyone else.”

He added, “The Contract for America, most of the stuff in the Contract for America was done with reconciliation. Tax cuts, done with reconciliation. Medicare, done with reconciliation. So they better go back and look at history a little bit.”

Steve Benen makes a good point:

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.

The GOP response: “But that was different! We were in charge then!”