Former Bush economic advisor: Reconciliation bill contains several “Byrd rule violations”

posted at 8:19 pm on March 18, 2010 by Allahpundit

To refresh your memory: In order for a provision in the Senate bill to be “fixed” in reconciliation, it has to be a budgetary matter. That’s why they can’t use reconciliation to satisfy Stupak on abortion. (It’s also why Marcy Kaptur is now calling for a separate abortion bill, which would never pass the Senate. But I digress.) If the parliamentarian rules that a provision’s not budgetary, then it’s out of the bill.

Which poses a problem for Madam Speaker. Bush econ honcho Keith Hennessey:

There are several Byrd rule violations. This means the House will have to vote on this bill twice. The second time would be after Senate Republicans use the Byrd rule to strike these provisions from the bill, then the Senate passes the modified bill and returns it to the House. And no, I won’t tell you where all of them are. Sorry. I don’t want to help the Democrats find and fix them. Some of these are only arguable violations. I have found at least three that are clear violations.

Follow the link for a dizzyingly wonktastic breakdown of the rest of the bill. This isn’t quite as sweet as it sounds: The second House vote described by Hennessey would only be on the reconciliation fix, not the Senate bill, which would already have been “deemed” passed by the first House vote. The point of raising this now is to remind House Dems that the ordeal isn’t over on Sunday. If they’re serious about passing this boondoggle, they’ve got another vote coming down the road and a whole lot of uncertainty until then about which of their favorite “fix” provisions will end up in the garbage once the Senate gets done with them. An added bonus? If there really are three clear, indisputable Byrd violations, as Hennessey claims, it makes it much tougher politically for Biden to overrule the parliamentarian and rubber-stamp the House bill when the GOP inevitably raises these challenges. They can get away, maybe, with railroading this thing through the Senate if the Byrd issues are arguable. If they’re really not, then they have a problem.

Speaking of uncertainty, if Hennessey’s right that the bill passed this weekend won’t be the final final bill passed in the House, how useful really is today’s ballyhooed CBO score? Jeffrey Anderson ponders:

When the House votes on Obamacare, probably this weekend, it will do the following: Most likely all in one motion, it will vote on whether to pass the Senate bill — or, more likely, on whether to “deem” it passed — and on additional language. Should the House pass the Senate bill, it would be enacted the second that it went to the president and his pen touched the page. At that point, the “Cornhusker Kickback,” the “Louisiana Purchase,” “Gator Aid,” and all the rest, would become the law of the land. The additional language would be passed on to the Senate. The new CBO score is for the whole ball of wax — for the Senate bill, which would immediately become law, plus the new language, which wouldn’t. Clear as mud?

We don’t know what the cost will be because we don’t know what the fix that ends up on Obama’s desk will look like. Although we can kinda sorta guess: Again per Anderson, if you take a 10-year projection starting with O-Care’s true first year of implementation, you’re looking at a number for the whole package somewhere in the ballpark of … $2.5 trillion.

Total costs weren’t the only gamed numbers in today’s bill either. I leave you with this, which seems to capture the sentiments of the day nicely.


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Violations of the law matter only if people in charge of enforcing it makes it matter.

That’s what today was all about.

wildcat84 on March 18, 2010 at 8:21 PM

So what will happen if Reconciliation is used in this manner??? Will, the GOP say, “Well, we tried, but there are some good leftist, ya know.”

MeatHeadinCA on March 18, 2010 at 8:23 PM

I’m shocked! shocked! to discover this!!

Dick Turpin on March 18, 2010 at 8:23 PM

Rules? We don’t need no stinkin rules.

Chip on March 18, 2010 at 8:27 PM

So if the Senate version is ‘deemed’ to have passed the house only if the house reconciliation bill passes the senate what happens if the reconciliation bill doesn’t pass the senate?

Nah, they ain’t that stooopud. The house passes the senate version, and the country does not pass go, goes straight to hell.

Skandia Recluse on March 18, 2010 at 8:28 PM

I think the Dem’s response right now is, “We. Don’t. Care.

As I posted in another thread, it’s time for a simple rallying cry. Flood the airwaves with it. How about:

WE’LL REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!!

EconomicNeocon on March 18, 2010 at 8:28 PM

wildcat84 is right. If it’s left up to administration appointees, there will never be anything deemed illegal…or even close to it. Any investigation will only be cursory – going through the motions, as it were – and always return no true bill.

The ONLY recourse will be the Supreme Court.

GoldenEagle4444 on March 18, 2010 at 8:28 PM

Somewhat OT question, but why isn’t it referred to as the Nuclear Option?

MeatHeadinCA on March 18, 2010 at 8:28 PM

Somewhat OT question, but why isn’t it referred to as the Nuclear Option?

MeatHeadinCA on March 18, 2010 at 8:28 PM

Because Nuclear is good. Why else would we let Iran have ‘em?

Scrappy on March 18, 2010 at 8:31 PM

The ONLY recourse will be the Supreme Court.

GoldenEagle4444 on March 18, 2010 at 8:28 PM

Someone should hire extra security for Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, and Alito.

Disturb the Universe on March 18, 2010 at 8:31 PM

Skandia Recluse on March 18, 2010 at 8:28 PM

The Senate bill would be law (at least Obama would claim that). The reconciliation rules require that the bill be signed into law before the reconciliation process begins. The Senate parliamentarian said the rules were clear on this.

So if reconciliation gets screwed up, the law on the books is the unchanged Senate version (assuming the House “deemed” passage is valid). Because that’s the only version of the bill that both have voted on.

Both House and Senate Dems would have to campaign in the fall having voted for the Cornhusker Kickback, tax on Cadillac (union) health plans, etc.

Wethal on March 18, 2010 at 8:32 PM

Because Nuclear is good. Why else would we let Iran have ‘em?

Scrappy on March 18, 2010 at 8:31 PM

I see…

MeatHeadinCA on March 18, 2010 at 8:32 PM

I can haz job now?

/”undecided” house dem

LibTired on March 18, 2010 at 8:33 PM

“Deem and pass won’t go, it will look like it was going to happen, they will reverse field and get the credit for having to reverse field and vote on the merits, that’s what is going to happen.” Major Garrett, direct quote from Bill O’Reilly’s show.

Sue on March 18, 2010 at 8:34 PM

So what’s the deal with greasy Joe overruling Republican efforts to use the Byrd rule?

toliver on March 18, 2010 at 8:35 PM

Yes, she is that ignorant, arrogant, and condescending. And those happen to be her good qualities.

GnuBreed on March 18, 2010 at 8:35 PM

Why would the Democrats start caring what the majority of their constituents want….they are only into power, control and the next Air Force One ride.

yoda on March 18, 2010 at 8:36 PM

This is a clusterf*ck of epic proportions.

Denverslim on March 18, 2010 at 8:37 PM

Holes

Well, there is a solution to that problem.

RINO in Name Only on March 18, 2010 at 8:37 PM

The 10 year deficit savings are less than the deficit Obummer incurred in FEBRUARY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ladyingray on March 18, 2010 at 8:37 PM

So what’s the deal with greasy Joe overruling Republican efforts to use the Byrd rule?

toliver on March 18, 2010 at 8:35 PM

Given that the Senate holds Byrd in higher regard, I’d guess enough Dems would nix that idea. Especially if Byrd wheeled himself in and sat there while Biden tried it.

Wethal on March 18, 2010 at 8:38 PM

To hear this new information, the ENTIRE thing won’t become law until 1. The house Slaughters the Senate bill and reconciliation, 2. The Senate either votes on the House reconciliation in total (or most likely) makes changes through said reconciliation, and then 3. the House votes on the Senate changes.

Is that true? I had thought, as Wethal, that once this passes the House, the One signed the Senate bill and then no one cares about the reconciliation because health care will have passed.

Darksean on March 18, 2010 at 8:38 PM

American dream come true-Obama, Pelosi and Reid manacled together and in orange jump suits being led off to face justice.

MaiDee on March 18, 2010 at 8:38 PM

Former Bush economic advisor: Reconciliation bill contains several “Byrd rule violations”

“violations”. How quaint.

The Washington junta doesn’t care about laws or violations.

neurosculptor on March 18, 2010 at 8:39 PM

Boss Tweed smiles in his grave.

blatantblue on March 18, 2010 at 8:39 PM

I will say a prayer

Lord, please deliver us from anymore Obama speeches.

Thank you, Lord.

Amen.

Key West Reader on March 18, 2010 at 8:39 PM

This is not going to end well. I just know it.

Terrye on March 18, 2010 at 8:40 PM

Did he say “Obamanation”? That’s what it sounded like.

I don’t recall hearing that one before. Kudos!

hisfrogness on March 18, 2010 at 8:41 PM

Yep, everyone will have “insurance” but very few doctors and hospitals will accept your worthless government insurance. Rod Blagojevich did the same thing with an Illinois pilot insurance scam that was supposed to target families making less than $30,000. They paid a few hundred bucks for policies but when they tried to use said “policies,” there were no takers. When they tried to get their money back, guess what? All that cash had disappeared like a fart in the wind. Suckers.

MayorDaley on March 18, 2010 at 8:41 PM

filthy collectivists

when does the de-kulakization begin?

blatantblue on March 18, 2010 at 8:42 PM

Is that true? I had thought, as Wethal, that once this passes the House, the One signed the Senate bill and then no one cares about the reconciliation because health care will have passed.

Darksean on March 18, 2010 at 8:38 PM

I know, it is all so confusing.

Terrye on March 18, 2010 at 8:42 PM

The senate marxists will just “deem” the Byrd rule to not apply.

farright on March 18, 2010 at 8:46 PM

Somewhat OT question, but why isn’t it referred to as the Nuclear Option?

MeatHeadinCA on March 18, 2010 at 8:28 PM

That is only for the GOP. For the Dems, it is business as usual….

ladyingray on March 18, 2010 at 8:47 PM

Gangster government.

How much more will we take?

TheBigOldDog on March 18, 2010 at 8:48 PM

Someone should hire extra security for Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, and Alito.

Disturb the Universe on March 18, 2010 at 8:31 PM

Seriously. I think Obama and his Democrats are capable of anything.

JellyToast on March 18, 2010 at 8:48 PM

Got a question: if this bill can be passed via reconciliation, can it also be repealed via reconciliation?

Mitch McConnel and Senate Republicans should make a big announcement and say that the minute Republicans take back a simple majority in the Senate and we have a Republican President (2012, 2014, 2016, whatever), we will immediately repeal the bill with a 51 vote reconciliation measure.

If they can pass the bill with 51 we should be able to repeal it with 51.

JohnInCA on March 18, 2010 at 8:51 PM

It’s time for another road trip…Capitol steps noon on Saturday. My bag is packed how about yours?

tnarch on March 18, 2010 at 8:52 PM

JohnInCA on March 18, 2010 at 8:51 PM

Obama would veto a repeal.

I think the reconciliation rules provide that the reconciliation expires in five years, though.

Wethal on March 18, 2010 at 8:54 PM

2.5 trillion. Whoa.

I’m going to need more MRE’s.

Bishop on March 18, 2010 at 8:56 PM

So what’s the deal with greasy Joe overruling Republican efforts to use the Byrd rule?

toliver on March 18, 2010 at 8:35 PM

Given that the Senate holds Byrd in higher regard, I’d guess enough Dems would nix that idea. Especially if Byrd wheeled himself in and sat there while Biden tried it.

Wethal on March 18, 2010 at 8:38 PM

I think you give the Democrats too much credit.

toliver on March 18, 2010 at 8:58 PM

Evil is alive and well in the world, and the air in Washington, D.C. is thick with it in concentrated form.

If we don’t get rid of these spineless, soulless, corrupt usurpers in November, then we truly deserve whatever we get.

hillbillyjim on March 18, 2010 at 9:00 PM

Nothing is too much of a problem to Madame Speaker.

promachus on March 18, 2010 at 9:03 PM

Gangster government.

How much more will we take?

TheBigOldDog
on March 18, 2010 at 8:48 PM

There is more than a little discontentment around these parts, even with lifelong Democrats. I’ve never seen anything like it in my 47 years, and my 81-year-old father (a yellow-dog Democrat since forever) says the same thing.

That Chinese proverb/curse is unfolding around us; we are certainly living in interesting times.

hillbillyjim on March 18, 2010 at 9:06 PM

If there really are three clear, indisputable Byrd violations, as Hennessey claims, it makes it much tougher politically for Biden to overrule the parliamentarian and rubber-stamp the House bill when the GOP inevitably raises these challenges.

I really want to see Joe get tangled up in this mess. It’s always a pleasure to see genius at work.

Cody1991 on March 18, 2010 at 9:06 PM

JUST AWFUL: “ABC hires Amanpour for Sunday morning job” (THIS WEEK) Someone please shoot me.

sbvft contributor on March 18, 2010 at 9:06 PM

MayorDaley on March 18, 2010 at 8:41 PM

Don’t count of the doctors being able to opt out. I expect a provision will be passed that requires doctors to expect Government care and bans them from taking cash.

chemman on March 18, 2010 at 9:07 PM

The Washington junta doesn’t care about laws or violations.

neurosculptor on March 18, 2010 at 8:39 PM

Rules are for sheep.

iurockhead on March 18, 2010 at 9:08 PM

OT: MSNBC producer loses temper.

John the Libertarian on March 18, 2010 at 9:08 PM

hillbillyjim on March 18, 2010 at 9:06 PM

Ditto. I’ve got people in my neck of the woods that have never been political who are outraged and ready to spit nails.

chemman on March 18, 2010 at 9:09 PM

Reconciliation is a smokescreen.

If the House passes the Senate bill, 0bama will sign it 0.1 seconds later, then “move on” to amnesty, leaving the House democrats swinging in the breeze.

That some democrats are too dumb to understand that, is the only reason the vote count is so close right now.

Rebar on March 18, 2010 at 9:12 PM

Who’s gonna stop them?

d1carter on March 18, 2010 at 9:12 PM

Why in the world would the Senate even take up the reconciliation bill, much less pass it? They passed a bill they like (well, 59 of them liked), the House will “deem” that bill passed and send the “fixes” to the Senate. Why again does the Senate bother to pick up the House “fix” bill?

jdp629 on March 18, 2010 at 9:16 PM

If I and my fellow doctors “opt out” of accepting the gov’t insurance in numbers large enough to matter, I suspect they will simply force us to or risk losing our license to practice.

No way they’ll let it be that easy. They’ll just forbid private practice like Canada and the U.K. did.

They are dead serious about this. We had better be ready. This is their demented dream come true.

MOCKBADOC on March 18, 2010 at 9:18 PM

Ditto. I’ve got people in my neck of the woods that have never been political who are outraged and ready to spit nails.

chemman on March 18, 2010 at 9:09 PM

Exactly. The amount of people who have never in their lives even thought about registering to vote, and who now are up in arms on a daily basis and wanting to know what to do to help stop this bullshit express runaway train, is simply astounding.

It is beyond my comprehension how the D.C. elite can be either so oblivious or so determined to have their way despite the ramifications.

hillbillyjim on March 18, 2010 at 9:24 PM

jdp629 on March 18, 2010 at 9:16 PM

Because Harry’s promise to do that is the only way Nancy ccan get the votes for the Senate bill. She could never get the votes outright for the Senate bill. If they want Obamacare to pass, he has to do this. But since DeMint objected to conference committee, they had to do it this way, which requires that it be done in stages, with presidential signing in the middle, and a great deal of trust.

Wethal on March 18, 2010 at 9:27 PM

Obama would veto a repeal.

I think the reconciliation rules provide that the reconciliation expires in five years, though.

Wethal on March 18, 2010 at 8:54 PM

So don’t repeal it, jsut pass a rule saying that it never passed the House in the first place.

That would mean that the President’s signature was meaningless, since the bill was never passed by both Houses. As an added bonus, we might even be able to prosecute anyone involved in administering the bill as abusing authority, since they were “enforcing” a law that didn’t exist.

I mean, why not? The Slaughter House rule is all about ignoring reality and changing history anyway.

malclave on March 18, 2010 at 9:29 PM

OT – kind of…

We have to start thinking about November. Why would they think they will maintain majorities?
1) They are truly out of touch = they get creamed.
2) They have a larger plan. Voter fraud? Absentee ballots? Voter registration issues ala ACORN again? Or “elections? What elections?”

Any other ideas? We cannot be caught sleeping in November. We have to plan ahead. Whatever they are cooking up – and you KNOW they are – we have to be ready.

Yellowdog12 on March 18, 2010 at 9:47 PM

Because Nuclear is good. Why else would we let Iran have ‘em?

Scrappy on March 18, 2010 at 8:31 PM

Its nu-ka-lar. Nu-Ka-lar. Say it.

BobMbx on March 18, 2010 at 9:53 PM

WE’LL REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!!

EconomicNeocon on March 18, 2010 at 8:28 PM

Gee, maybe TP their house. That’ll get’em. Someone else is advocating tar and feathering.

Wow scary.

I am not picking on you EN, but I have to ask … do you people on this site think the Marxists will just ‘go away’ after November? Do you really think, the sun will be brighter and the grass greener in November? Think someone else is going to save the day? Yeah, Levin and 30 state AGs. Oh! maybe the military will save our bacon. Sure.

You are fooling yourselves.

Examine our history. What has happened in the past around … Intolerable Acts? Encroachment of states rights and polarization of a nation? You are living in it, but now … the fight coming down the pipe is for your very life.

AZ_Redneck on March 18, 2010 at 9:54 PM

I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure the entire student loan takeover thing is a Byrd rule violation. The House can include it becasue the House already passed an authorizing bill for the takeover and the end to the subsidies for private lenders. But the Senate didn’t. So that program as it exists is still on the books, and the statute that governs the program can’t be changed in a reconciliation bill. That accounts for a whopping $60 billion of “savings” in this CBO score too.

rockmom on March 18, 2010 at 10:17 PM

I really want to see Joe get tangled up in this mess. It’s always a pleasure to see genius at work.

Cody1991 on March 18, 2010 at 9:06 PM

I’m not sure at this point if Obama really cares. As he’s said, he doesn’t waste time worrying about process. But I’d think the last thing he’d want is for his VP, who basically is there, to do the Presidents bidding, to get to deeply involved with this. Because no matter what Biden does, says, or decides….it will reflect right back on Obama. IF Biden were to overrule the parliamentarian, everyone would know, it was a direct order from Obama. So far, I think Obama is trying to keep his hands as clean as he thinks he can, so it doesn’t come off on him in a negative way.

Yeah…he’s that clueless that he thinks people don’t see him as a villain in this as well. Maybe not as much as Pelosi, and Reid, but he gave them control. So the blood of this is on his hands too now. Wait til he comes to that revelation, that people actually have the audacity to blame him for anything.

capejasmine on March 18, 2010 at 10:25 PM

Bush’s economic advisor should be sent into exile for what they did to the US economy.

lexhamfox on March 18, 2010 at 10:48 PM

Yellowdog12:

I believe the words you’re looking for are “comprehensive immigration reform”.

Vancomycin on March 18, 2010 at 11:17 PM

Allah,

You are aces with me, but I think you are doing a disservice to your readers by muddying the waters with the whole reconciliation discussion. Simply put, reconciliation is irrelevant right now, at best an extremely distant second. If they pass they Senate bill in the House, whether legitimately or otherwise, then the precedent signs it and it is done – game over.

Everybody needs to be focused on the House passing the Senate bill and forget about the reconciliation issue – it is an irrelevant issue at this juncture.

kjl291 on March 19, 2010 at 12:01 AM

Everybody needs to be focused on the House passing the Senate bill and forget about the reconciliation issue – it is an irrelevant issue at this juncture.

kjl291 on March 19, 2010 at 12:01 AM

Agreed. I think they are going to drop the Slaughter gambit at the last minute and just vote on the Senate bill. If it passes, game over.

Missy on March 19, 2010 at 7:19 AM

Excuse me, but why would a lawless, tyrannical Congress give a rat’s pitooty about “Byrd Rules?”

olesparkie on March 19, 2010 at 8:45 AM

Exactly. The amount of people who have never in their lives even thought about registering to vote, and who now are up in arms on a daily basis and wanting to know what to do to help stop this bullshit express runaway train, is simply astounding.

hillbillyjim on March 18, 2010 at 9:24 PM

The first step is to make sure that all Democrats pay a price for this. Not just the ones in DC. The goal is to decimate the Democratic party, lock stock and barrel. No Democrat, anywhere in the country, returns to office next year.

MarkTheGreat on March 19, 2010 at 8:45 AM

Bush’s economic advisor should be sent into exile for what they did to the US economy.

lexhamfox on March 18, 2010 at 10:48 PM

You mean how Bush signed those expansions of govt programs that the Democrats insisted on as a price for their support of the war?

MarkTheGreat on March 19, 2010 at 8:47 AM

Or perhaps it was the one who urged Bush to sign the TARP bill that Obama voted for?

MarkTheGreat on March 19, 2010 at 10:45 AM

I am not picking on you EN, but I have to ask … do you people on this site think the Marxists will just ‘go away’ after November? Do you really think, the sun will be brighter and the grass greener in November? Think someone else is going to save the day? Yeah, Levin and 30 state AGs. Oh! maybe the military will save our bacon. Sure.

You are fooling yourselves.

AZ_Redneck on March 18, 2010 at 9:54 PM

Thanks for the comment — The spirit of the We’ll remember in November catchphrase is simply intended as an attention getter. In the short run, getting the pols to understand that their ability to return to Washington is OVER should they allow O’care to “pass” is the only way to stop them. Sorry if that wasn’t clear in the original post. It plays on the notion that I believe many pols have — that voter memory is short. So let’s begin the chant before it’s too late:

WE’LL REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER

EconomicNeocon on March 19, 2010 at 11:22 AM