Monday, December 14, 2009

reconciliation doesn't have to be used to be effective

this points us down the path of either an extremely shitty health care reform bill, or no bill passing at all.

just to be clear, i'm not saying reconciliation has to be used if we want real health care reform. the democratic leadership doesn't necessarily have to go the reconciliation route, they just have to be serious about using it if people like lieberman, nelson and landrieu demand too many concessions. reconciliation would mean cutting them out of the process. not completely, of course. they would still have a vote, they just wouldn't be the swing vote anymore. none of the so-called "moderates" want to lose the enormous sway they already have. just making a serious threat of reconciliation is likely to produce better behavior from those senators.

if they're not afraid of losing their swing-vote influence, they'll never see the need to stop asking for another concession. at some point the bill will get whittled down to a level where progressive senators are going to feel pressured to vote against the it. unless the democratic leadership stands up to the moderates and uses the reconciliation threat, there won't be a real health care overhaul. at best, we'll have a sloppy band-aid of a bill, rather than real reform. more like HIPAA than landmark legislation.