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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Budget Reconciliation Though the Ages

At The New Republic, Thomas Mann, Norm Ornstein and Molly Reynolds have published a handy-dandy guide to the past use of budget reconciliation procedures–you know, that anti-democratic cramdown procedure that Democrats have “invented” to foist their socialist agenda on an unwilling or unwary America. It comes complete with a chart that briefly describes the circumstances and impact of the last nineteen times reconciliation has been deployed, mainly under Republican presidents or in Republican-controlled Congresses.
Mann, Ornstein and Reynolds suggest that reconciliation can best be used by Obama and congressional Democrats as a club to get Republicans to cooperate on complex issues like health care reform. That’s almost certainly what Democrats have in mind. But the idea that there’s anything revolutionary about the actual use of reconciliation for items other than strictly budgetary decisions is demonstrably wrong.

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